It has been more than two months since the 2013 IIHF World Championship, but this week one Vancouver Canucks player found out his behavior there will affect him at the 2014 Olympics as well. Alexander Edler delivered a knee-on-knee hit on Canada’s Eric Staal (Carolina Hurricanes) in the quarterfinals, which resulted in his being suspended for the final two games of the tournament. The IIHF has now announced that Edler’s suspension will carry over into the first two games of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The two-game suspension could have a huge impact on whether or not Edler will make Sweden’s roster for the tournament. Edler is a valuable offensive defenseman, but with Niklas Kronwall, Douglas Murray, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Johnny Oduya available they could survive without him. Those two opening games are against the Czech Republic and Switzerland, both of which could be tough contests.
Edler ranked second among Canucks defensemen with 22 points during the 2013 season, and was tied for first (with Jason Garrison) with eight goals. He logged more minutes than any other player on the Canucks roster last season, and his slap shot makes him a dangerous weapon on the power play. He won a bronze medal with Sweden at the 2008 World Championship and received a gold medal in 2013 despite missing the final two games due to his suspension. Staal is still recovering but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.