|Petr Šenkeřík, seen here in the tournament opener against Norway,|
won't play Thursday. Photo: Andre Ringuette, HHOF-IIHF Images.
“Luckily, it’s not as bad as it looked yesterday,” the Czech team’s general manager Petr Komers said. “He feels better, but he won’t play tomorrow.”
19-year-old Šenkeřík, who split last season between the WHL's Kootenay Ice and Prince George Cougars, now plays in the Czech First League with HC Rebel Havlíčkův Brod. He was unconscious and wheeled off on a stretcher after being hit by Canada's Zack Kassian in the second period of Canada's 7-2 win. Though it did not appear that Kassian intentionally targeted Šenkeřík's head, he caught him with a hard shoulder to the chin at high speed. According to IIHF rules, any hit to the head or neck area must be penalized, and anything causing injury carries the minimum of a major penalty and game misconduct.
Kassian received an automatic one-game suspension when he was assessed a match penalty on the play by the referees. He was further suspended an additional game by tournament disciplinarian Dan Marouelli, which will keep him out of action for the remainder of the tournament's group stage. The tournament has come down hard on checks to the head in this tournament, with two Slovak players, Martin Marinčin and Peter Hraško, each given three- and two-game suspensions for incidents in their game against the USA.
It's not known if or when Šenkeřík will return in the 2011 World Junior Championships, but it has been confirmed that Martin Frk will not face further disciplinary action after being assessed a major penalty for spearing and a game misconduct in the third period of the same game. Kromers and the Czechs were originally informed that Frk would not be allowed to play against Sweden, "but we were told that the tournament directorate will not penalize Frk further. He was given a warning, but he can play."
Frk, who just turned 17 in October, is the youngest player on the Czech team. The Halifax Moosehead was the leading rookie scorer in the QMJHL at the time he left for the Czech U20 team camp and won't be eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2012. He wasn't added to the team's preliminary roster until Dmitrij Jaškin was forced out with a knee injury.
The Czech Republic (1-1) faces Sweden (2-0) Thursday at 3pm Eastern Time, 21:00 Central European Time. The game can be followed on TSN and RDS (Canada), NHL Network (USA), ČT4 Sport (Czech Republic), or Eurosport 2 (Europe).