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Canada's Kassian suspended after hit

If Team Canada is to continue its dominance at this year's world juniors, it will do so today with a short-handed roster.

Canada's Zack Kassian, the Buffalo Sabres' first-round draft pick in 2009, is suspended for today's game against Norway after receiving a five-minute match penalty for a hit to the head during Tuesday's 7-2 win over the Czech Republic.

Kassian caught Petr Senkerik with a thundering hit near the Canadian blue line with 14:07 left in the second period. The hit left the Czech defenseman motionless on the ice. Kassian hit Senkerik, who had just passed the puck, with his left shoulder and appeared to make contact with his chin.

At least 10 trainers and support staff attended to Senkerik, who was taken off the ice on a stretcher. Czech assistant coach Jiri Fischer said after the game Senkerik was awake and communicating with team officials in the locker room.

"Petr was awake, so obviously happy about that," Fischer said. "It was a pretty scary moment, especially the way he left the ice and silenced the building for several minutes. He was awake and he was communicating. I'm sure he's going to get some further evaluations [Tuesday night] in a hospital and we'll know a little bit more [today].

Fischer declined to say whether he thought the hit against Kassian was dirty.

"I haven't seen the replay. It was in a scrum. He passed the puck, he certainly was hit," Fischer said.

"Where exactly the hit was, how he landed, [I] have to see the replay."

Team Canada coach Dave Cameron also curtly refused to comment.

"Doesn't matter what I think. I have no input into it," he said.

Kassian, 6-foot-3 and 226 pounds, was suspended 20 games last season for Windsor, his team in the Ontario Hockey League, for a hit to the head.

"I can't really compare that," Kassian said of the two hits. "I was just being physical. My hands were down. I just hope he's all right. You never want to see anyone get hurt. When you see a stretcher come out, it's not the best feeling in the world."

Kassian, who plays a physical style, is Canada's top power forward. While IIHF rules dictate he's out for today's game, the possibility exists that he could be suspended for even longer.

That decision rests with tournament Disciplinary Judge Dan Marouelli, who has 24 hours to decide on further punishment.

"I'll just wait and see what my penalty is and try to move forward and put this behind me," Kassian said.

Canada may also be without Calvin de Haan and Jaden Schwartz today against Norway. Both were injured against the Czech Republic, though Cameron offered no updates on their conditions after the game.

***

The U.S. team routed Slovakia without forwards Jeremy Morin and Brock Nelson, who missed the game with upper-body injuries. They could be without forward Jason Zucker on Thursday against Germany.

Zucker was the recipient of a flagrant shot to the head by Slovakia's Martin Marincin during the third period. Zucker checked Slovak defenseman Adam Janosik deep in the offensive zone, and when he turned to skate back he was struck in the head by Marincin's elbow.

Zucker was assisted off the ice with a dazed look. Marincin was kicked out. U.S. coach Keith Allain described himself as "extremely" disturbed.

"It was a vicious, dirty hit," Allain said of Marincin's blast.

Compiled by News Sports Staff.

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