The IIHF World Championships are well underway in Slovakia and they've been rather brutal. Witness this hit by Latvian defenseman Arturs Kulda(notes) on Czech defenseman (and New York Islanders blue-liner) Radek Martinek(notes) on Saturday that left Martinek motionless on the ice and, eventually, on a stretcher:
The IIHF Disciplinary Panel (a.k.a. Wheel of Justice International) reviewed the hit and banned Kulda for three games, which will really hurt Latvia's world championship chances if they had any. From the IIHF:
"The video showed Arturs Kulda jumping into the situation, hitting Martinek's head and neck area," said Jan-Ake Edvinsson, Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel.
Martinek was taken to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a severe concussion. "The player has suffered a severe concussion and a severe bruise (hematoma)," said Dr. Beat Villiger, the IIHF Medical Supervisor. "The CT scan showed no further injuries, but there is very little chance that he can play in the championship."
Suffice it to say, Martinek is out of Worlds. So is Russia's Alexei Tereschenko, a 2000 draft pick by the Dallas Stars who currently plays for Ak Bars Kazen of the KHL, thanks to a dangerous knee-on-knee hit vs. Slovenia … and then things got really ugly.
Marcel Rodman collided with Alexei Tereshenko in the neutral zone. Rodman got a tripping penalty, and Tereshenko was helped off the ice. He's out of the tournament with a ruptured ligament of the right knee.
Yikes. A few minutes later, Russia had a dangerous hit of its own, as Alexei Yemelin checked Ziga Jeglic from behind and left him bloody:
From the IIHF:
Jeglic left the ice his face covered in blood and with a fractured nose while Yemelin received a game misconduct and was escorted to the dressing room.
The IIHF World Championships: Like the N.I.T., only much nastier and with 100 percent more Kovalchuk annually.
Meanwhile, today's amazing factoid: Did you know that the country that gave us goalie Martin Gerber(notes) actually has a player on its national team named Beat Gerber? Too bad Gerber's neck injury cost him a spot on the national team; would have made for some awkward scrimmages.