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Canadian defenceman Shea Weber suspended three games at world championship

The Canadian Press
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Team Canada Shea Webber pauses during practice at the world hockey championship Sunday, in Mytischi, Russia. (CP PHOTO/Jacques Boissinot) Author: The Hockey News

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Canadian defenceman Shea Weber suspended three games at world championship

The Canadian Press
By:

It started with a five-hour delay at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany while he and Team Canada teammates Jordan Staal and Dan Hamhuis sorted out a visa problem and continued Sunday as Weber was suspended for three games.

He was ejected just 1:19 into Canada's first game of the tournament on Saturday.

The 21-year-old defenceman crushed Yannic Seidenberg with an elbow as the German skated through the neutral zone with his head down. The play happened at high speed and Weber said he wasn't trying to hurt Seidenberg.

"I'm sure Shea regrets it," said Canadian coach Andy Murray. "But check his penalty minutes, we all know he's not that type of player."

Indeed, Weber spent just 60 minutes in the penalty box while playing 79 games for the Nashville Predators this season. It was one of the main arguments against suspending Weber given by Hockey Canada vice-president Johnny Misley at the IIHF directorate meeting on Sunday morning.

IIHF President Rene Fasel had opened the meeting by proposing a five-game ban.

The 22 directorate members - with representatives from the IIHF, organizing committee and all 16 participating nations - voted to suspend Weber for three games.

He was informed of the decision after Canada's practice at Mytischi Arena.

"Obviously I was thinking about it all night," said Weber. "It's unfortunate. I'm going to serve it and hopefully come back and help out."

He'll be eligible to return for Canada's second qualifying round game later in the week.

That game will essentially be Weber's first as he was only around for 79 seconds of Canada's 3-2 win over the Germans.

"It's tough for that first shift of that first game," said Hamhuis, who played at the world championship last year in Latvia. "You kind of want that first game just to get comfortable, get your legs under you and get used to the guys that you're playing with.

"For him now it's going to come later in the tournament when the games are more important."

German coach Uwe Krupp said that Seidenberg suffered a serious concussion and would not be available for the rest of the tournament.

Krupp didn't think Weber was trying to injure his player but called the suspension a "no-brainer."

"That was a pretty rough hit," he said. "He tried to hit him hard but there are certain responsibilities that you have."

Initially, there was no call by Finnish referee Jyri Petteri Ronn after Weber laid out Seidenberg. As the German player struggled to get up, falling over repeatedly, Weber was slapped with a five-minute major and game misconduct.

"I've seen the replay on TV," said Seidenberg, the younger brother of Carolina Hurricanes defenceman Dennis Seidenberg. "I can't remember anything - not even the check itself."

It's probably a week Weber will never forget.

"I guess he's had a pretty tough trip," said Staal.

Weber admits that it will be tough to watch as his teammates play the next three games.

The winning team will play nine games so Weber will miss almost half the tournament if Canada goes the distance.

"A three-game suspension in a tournament like this is awfully tough," Canadian head coach Andy Murray said. "It's the equivalent of a 40-game suspension back in the National Hockey League based on the number of games we're playing here - but that's what they decided and that's what we'll deal with."

Canada had been carrying seven defencemen and will not add another before Monday's game with Norway.

General manager Steve Yzerman and his staff may elect to bring someone in after that.

"Shea's a good player for us and a big part of our defence so it's a loss, but we do have options, we do have enough players, and the coaches will make some adjustments to how we play our special teams," he said.

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Canadian defenceman Shea Weber suspended three games at world championship