Sports Hockey


IIHF should use video review for controversial hits

By Ryan Pyette, The London Free Press

Phil Baltisberger of Team Switzerland is looked after by medical staff after a head hit against Team Russia during the group stage of the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships at the Air Canada Centre on December 28, 2014. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

Phil Baltisberger of Team Switzerland is looked after by medical staff after a head hit against Team Russia during the group stage of the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championships at the Air Canada Centre on December 28, 2014. (Dave Abel/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency)

No one loves sitting through video reviews.

But if it's going to be used to determine if a puck went in the net, surely it can be incorporated to double-check if a player should be kicked out of a game.

The hit by Russian forward Anatoli Golyshev on Swiss defenceman Phil Baltisberger, who plays for the Guelph Storm, was a perfect example Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre.

Swiss coach John Fust said he was originally told there wouldn't be a penalty because none of the four officials on the ice saw it. That, he thought, rattled his bench, who was watching their friend and teammate lying face down on the ice.

Russian coach Valeri Bragin said he was told it was going to be a two-minute minor at first, before the refs changed their mind.

The officials huddled as Baltisberger was being tended to, then removed from the ice by stretcher and on to the hospital.

They decided to give Golychev a major for interference and boot him out of the game. It came with a one-game suspension attached.

It was painful watching everyone come to that decision.

So how about taking a quick peek of a penalty review for hits that cause injury? You can even expand it to all major infractions (minus fighting) if necessary.

The International Ice Hockey Federation should take a leadership role in this area.

If nobody saw it, as was suggested, go to the tape and get a look. It's far better than kicking out a player who doesn't deserve it or keeping one on the ice who should've been gone.

Imagine, Leafs fans, if they had this back in 1993.


Baltisberger, by the way, doesn't have any broken bones or concussion symptoms, but he's still experiencing neck pain.

He is considered day-to-day, but it's unsure if he'll play in Tuesday's game against Denmark


Czech forward Pavel Zacha, trying to become the first top 10 NHL pick from his country since the Flyers' Jakub Voracek (Columbus) eight years ago, will never forget his first week in Sarnia earlier this fall.

“When I go to try out, there were four fights – I was like, 'what am I doing here,’” the wide-eyed 17-year-old Sting forward and top import pick said. “In Czech, there's like 20 players (at a tryout). Here, there were 40 fighting against each other (for a roster spot).”

He has become used to the high-tempo style in major junior and he doesn't shy away from the rough stuff. He missed eight games in the first half of the OHL season from suspension.

“When I come back (after world juniors), I hope I won't be suspended for more games,” he joked.

Shifted to the wing, he picked up his first point of the tourney on the late-game equalizer against the Danes


Before facing Russia Monday, the Swedes promised to pump up their squad by showing video of penalty killers Leon Bristedt and Axel Holmstrom sacrificing their bodies against Denmark Saturday.

The duo blocked three shots in one sequence, which eventually had Bristedt limping to the bench.

“Everyone has to do that and that's a good moment to keep and put up,” Swedish assistant coach Tomas Monten said. “As important as it is scoring on our chances, we have to take them away, too, and the Danes have a good power play.”


The Czechs could certainly use a little more of that on their squad. They've only killed five of their 11 shorthanded situations for a lousy 45% rate.

Head coach Miroslav Prerost pointed at his head.

“It's all about the head,” he said. “We've changed every player from the start, it's always the same. For the next game, hopefully, we're better in front of the net and have more confidence (in that area).”

You hate to be experimenting and shuffling the responsibilities now, but that's where the Czechs are right now.


The lone Tuesday game features the Danes, peppered by the Czechs on the shot clock, against the Swiss, who couldn't score a single goal in their strange loss to Russia Sunday.

“I never seen a game where you outshoot a team by 10 and lose 7-0,” Fust said, “but this tournament has a bit of everything, I guess.”

The Russians went after Swiss star Kevin Fiala early on and tried to knock him off stride. The Nashville first rounder couldn't get rolling and the power play sputtered.

Clearly, that will be the game plan of every foe moving forward.


No duo in this pool is more captivating than Russian linemates Sergei Tolchinsky, the Soo Greyhound, and former Sarnia Sting Nikolai Goldobin.

Their sense of each other in the offensive zone is magical


It's only a matter of time before Denmark's Oliver Bjorkstrand buries one of his shorthanded chances.

He's been dangerous all week and it's no surprise he has a Western Hockey League-high five short-handed goals for the Portland Winterhawks.

Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions

Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »