Your Sweden-Finland, U.S.-Canada Olympic semifinal officials are…


The IIHF has announced the referees and linesmen for Friday’s big semifinal games between Sweden-Finland and U.S.-Canada. They are…

Sweden-Finland: Referees Konstantin Olenin (Russia) and Tim Peel (U.S.), linesmen Derek Amell and Chris Carlson (both Canada).

U.S.-Canada: Referees Brad Meier (U.S) and Kelly Sutherland (Canada), linesmen Ivan Dedioulia (Belarus) and Greg Devorski (Canada).

Some quick thoughts…

— The most noteworthy assignment here is Meier, who came under fire following the U.S.-Russia game for Fedor Tyutin’s disallowed goal (due to the net being dislodged). Russian fans protested outside of the U.S. Embassy and the media, well, uh…

After the call was made, commentators on state television at first seemed unable to overcome their shock, shouting “How can this be so?!” They spent much of the rest of the game muttering resignedly about Meier’s nationality.

Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the country’s most popular newspapers, carried a photograph of U.S. goalie Jonathan Quick — a red circle drawn around his hand, which appears to be pushing one goal post backward — beneath the headline: “An American referee and the puppet international federation deprived us of a deserved victory.”

One state-owned channel ran an hour-long talk show dedicated to the disallowed goal.

“Judges don’t have nationality?!” Alexei Pushkov, a Kremlin-connected member of parliament, fumed on Twitter. “How interesting. And how come they didn’t appoint a referee from Russia, but an American?”

— Olenin and Peel have only worked once together this tournament (Slovenia’s win over Slovakia in the group stage); this will be Meier and Sutherland’s first game at the Olympics together, but the pair has worked a number of NHL contests.

— Referees that were given quarterfinal games but didn’t make the cut for the semis? Kevin Pollock (Canada), Jyri Ronn (Finland), Marcus Vinnerborg (Sweden) and Vladimir Sindler (Czech Republic).

Sens demote former first-rounder Puempel

Matt Puempel
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Looks like Matt Puempel won’t be making the leap after all.

Puempel, the subject of Ottawa’s “looking to make the leap” profile during our Team of the Day series, has been sent down to AHL Binghamton one day prior to the Sens’ opener against Buffalo.

Puempel, taken by Ottawa in the first round (24th overall) at the ’11 draft, made his big-league debut last season and looked as though he’d stick around — only to suffer a high ankle sprain after 13 games, and miss the rest of the season.

The 22-year-old came into this year’s camp looking to secure a full-time position at the big league level, but was beaten out by Shane Prince for the final forward spot on the roster.

To be fair, contract status probably played a role. Prince would’ve had to clear waivers to get down to Bingo, whereas Puempel didn’t.

A former 30-goal scorer in the American League, Puempel is expected to get another look with Ottawa this season.

Report: Torres won’t appeal 41-game suspension


Sounds like Raffi Torres is accepting his punishment.

Per Sportsnet, Torres won’t appeal his 41-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of Anaheim’s Jakob Silfverberg.

The report comes just days after the NHL’s Department of Player Safety levied one of the longest disciplinary rulings in league history, citing both the severity of the Silfverberg hit and Torres’ lengthy history of suspensions, fines and warnings.

There was some thought, however, that Torres would try to challenge the ruling.


He does have a history of success in that department. In 2012,Torres successfully appealed his suspension for a headshot on Chicago’s Marian Hossa, and had his punishment reduced from 25 games to 21.

Torres also isn’t considered a “repeat offender” under the current collective bargaining agreement, as his last suspension came in 2013.

Of course, part of that clean record is due to the fact he hasn’t played much. Torres has largely been sidelined by injury for the last two seasons, missing all of last year with knee problems.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman delved further into the repeat offender thing in his latest 30 Thoughts column:

If you read the relevant sections of the CBA, the league takes the position that the repeat offender status is only applicable to fines. Repeaters are fined on a per-game basis, non-repeaters on a per-day basis. (The former is more expensive, because there are fewer games than days in an NHL season.) However, if you go to Section 18.2, among the factors taken into account are, “the status of the offender and, specifically, whether the Player has a history of being subject to Supplementary Discipline for On-Ice Conduct.”

So, in the NHL’s view, a player’s history is relevant, even if longer than 18 months ago.

Should the report prove accurate and Torres doesn’t appeal, he will be eligible to return to action on Jan. 14, when the Sharks take on the Oilers.