Team USA forward Luke Kunin was ejected from the U.S.’s game against Canada at the 2017 World Junior Tournament on Saturday after a late hit to Canadian defenseman Philippe Myers.
With Myers dropping the puck off behind Canada’s net, Kunin hit Myers with force. The hit was a tad late, but it appeared Kunin delivered a clean blow against Myers. Now, considering it’s the World Junior tournament, referees deemed the contact late and close to the head. Not helping the matters was Myers being forced out of action after the hit, as he didn’t return to the game.
The hit was late, but I’m torn on whether it was worthy of an ejection of one of team USA.’s best players. Kunin made clean contact with Myers’ body. It was a thunderous hit, but it appeared to be clean for the most part. The big no-no appears to be the timing of the hit, but Kunin was following through on a hit. It just was a banger.
USA’s captain was ejected, but it didn’t make a huge dent in the game, as they defeated Canada 3-1 on New Year’s eve. Whether the hit has any repercussions on how Kunin’s officiated will remain to be seen. I doubt he’ll face any suspension for the hit, as five minutes and a game seems like a sufficient punishment.