Slovakia’s uphill match against the Czech Republic on Tuesday just got a little more daunting. After being hit in the head by Slovenian defenseman Sabahudin Kovacevic, Tomas Kopecky will miss the rest of the 2014 Winter Games, according to the Associated Press.
Kovacevic served a one-game suspension for his actions.
A Slovak team spokesman simply called it an upper-body injury, but obviously if Kopecky has a concussion, then it’s possible that he won’t be available when the Florida Panthers resume their schedule on Feb. 27.
This tournament couldn’t have gone much worse for the Panthers. They only sent two players to the games, and the other one, 18-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov, will reportedly miss the next four-to-six weeks due to a knee injury. With around eight weeks left in their regular season schedule and without any hope of making the playoffs, Florida might simply shutdown Barkov for the rest of the season.
We’ll have to wait for more details before we’ll know if Kopecky is in danger of suffering a similar fate.
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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