Players fake injuries irk Canadian fans

It's tough to tell what's a legitimate injury when Europeans are taking dives and faking pain....

It's tough to tell what's a legitimate injury when Europeans are taking dives and faking pain. Russia's goalie Andrei Makarov is checked out by a trainer after a collision with Sweden's Pontus Aberg during Thursday's gold-medal game of the world juniors. (MIKE DREW/QMI Agency)

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

CALGARY - Rene Fasel didn’t mince his words when asked about the fake injuries that peppered the world junior hockey championship in Calgary and Edmonton.

“It’s the European illness,” said the International Ice Hockey Federation president as amused Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson chimed in with, “I like that question.”

“It’s a culture question,” Fasel continued. “You know football — soccer — is big, and (injuries are a) part of the game.”

Does it embarrass him as much as it bothers Canadian fans who booed most European players for their theatrics?

“What can we do?” Fasel asked.

“The football federation is trying to correct it. We in our sport should also do so.”

Indeed, they should. Different from the type of diving the NHL has cracked down on to draw penalties, many European players writhe on the ice as if seriously injured following harmless contact, a la soccer.

“You’re not used to that,” Fasel said with a smile before taking a playful dig at the North American game. “We’re not used to so much elbowing as you are.”

Now for more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering if players on Canada’s junior team take solace in the fact most will go on to make millions of dollars in the NHL before getting concussed.

AROUND THE HORN

There can be little doubt that after stints in Ufa, Russia and Malmo, Sweden, the next Canadian stop for the world juniors will be in Toronto or Montreal in 2015. What may help Montreal’s bid is the prospect that awarding it to a joint Montreal/Quebec City bid may help spur on the building of an NHL arena in Quebec City … Calgary Stampeders equipment manager George Hopkins after adding his expertise to every team at the Dome during the world juniors: “Now, I can swear in nine languages.” … There have been plenty of times along the road to 500 goals Jarome Iginla was unsure what his future as a scorer held. Few were scarier than the injury he got early in his career that saw the knuckle on his ring finger swell so much for several months he had to order a custom-made wedding ring that snapped into place after fitting over the knuckle … I’ve never cheered for the Montreal Canadiens a day in my life, but given the ridiculous disrespect afforded a good man like Randy Cunneyworth simply because he doesn’t speak French, I’d relish seeing him turn that team around against all odds.

PARTING GIFTS

Steve Tambellini is actively shopping for defencemen (join the club), and there is an outside chance they may just have to eventually shut Ryan Whitney down for the season. His foot woes have limited his play this year, and he is still out of the lineup. The Oilers have won eight of their last 29 games in what is quickly becoming another lost season. When you see the heart and sacrifice exhibited by Taylor Hall and several of the youngsters on the Oilers, it’s clear Ales Hemsky’s time there is coming to an end. Last week, the oft-injured second-line winger flamingo’d on a shot that got through for a goal and later gave up on a race to try erasing icing in the final minute of a win in Chicago. Not popular moves. A UFA this summer, Hemsky and the Oilers are better off with him elsewhere if they can find a suitor … Fasel met with Donald Fehr, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey in Calgary on Thursday with hopes of finding out more about possible NHL participation in the 2014 Olympics. “We’re open,” said Fasel on seeing the world’s best at the Games. Fasel will meet with the NHL in two weeks, but nothing will be determined until a new CBA is agreed upon … Who wouldn’t be in favour of scrapping the NHL’s realignment plans if the alternative has the Boston Bruins playing the Vancouver Canucks 10 times a year? … As laughable as the fans’all-star selections are, what many fail to remember is that such a flawed system actually gets people talking about a game nobody would otherwise discuss. In that vein, it works … Slap Shot translation of Rene Bourque’s apology following the hit that prompted his five-game suspension: He feels shame.

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @ericfrancis


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