The US Men's National Team met the Jaromir Jagr-led Czech Republic in the quarterfinals at the World Championship on Thursday in Minsk, Belarus. The Americans had played well despite a significant gap in experience between them and the veteran-laden Czechs. Tied 1-1 after the first period, the game got flipped on its head in the second period.
Team USA captain Justin Abdelkader, a full-time member of the Detroit Red Wings, leveled Czech forward Vladimir Sobotka, normally of the St. Louis Blues. There was no penalty called immediately on the play, but Sobotka remained down on the ice as play continued. The whistle eventually blew and the referees conferred.
After their conference, Abdelkader got a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging. Here's a look.
After several replays, it was the right call. Abdelkader's hit was late, high and vicious. It also appears that he left his feet. Clearly there was contact to the head.
It is highly likely that Abdelkader will be suspended by the IIHF and if he is, it will be his second suspension of the tournament. He missed Team USA's game against Finland after he was suspended for kneeing.
The penalty proved to be costly in more ways than one. In addition to losing the veteran Abdelkader, Team USA allowed two goals on the ensuing power play and had a possible third disallowed. The US captain dug an awfully big hole for his team.
Should Abdelkader be suspended, and it's not a stretch to believe he would get multiple games for this one, any suspension would carry over to future World Championships if Abdelkader was invited to participate.