(DISCLAIMER: I don’t speak Swedish. I’ve only been to Ikea once. The info I’ve gathered here comes from a few different online translators, so take it with a grain of salt. I think I’ve paraphrased it pretty accurately. If you know Swedish and want to clarify or confirm something, let me know.)
The road to what seemed like the impending arrival of Carl Soderberg got a little bumpy this week, after the Swede was tossed from Linkopings HC’s playoff game against HV71 for cross-checking an opposing player in the head.
In the video, Soderberg, clearly incensed at something, is skating around like a wrecking ball. He actually cross-checks his eventual target, Per Ledin, once, charges him, and then cross-checks him in the head. “Typical Bruin,” say Montreal fans.
NESN cited a Swedish reporter who said today that Soderberg received a seven-game suspension from the Swedish Elite League, though three of those games will just be served through fines (so he’s actually sitting for four games).
I did a little searching on Google to see what the Swedish press was saying about the incident. I found a three pieces on Expressen.se (one, two, and three), and have paraphrased them below (we all know Google Translate pieces aren’t exactly grammatical works of art).
- The SEL’s Disciplinary Committee called the cross-check “disrespectful” and said “this kind of behavior does not belong [in] the sport.”
- Thomas Johansson, a Swedish hockey commentator, said the play “was not pretty,” and added that Soderberg “is just too good [of a] hockey player” to do stuff like that. He added, “he is far too important for…Linköping. He must not do such stupid things.”
- HV71’s coach, Ulf Dahlen, was far more critical. He said they’ve tried to cut down on hits to the head, but that this wasn’t merely a penalty. “It was an attempted execution.” This could probably be dumbed down to “he tried to take the guy’s head off,” but it’s a strong statement regardless. Dahlen also called the hit the “ugliest thing [he’s] seen this season.”
- Petter Rönnqvist, another hockey commentator, echoed Johansson’s comments, saying Soderberg “can’t do this.” They seem to be saying it in the vein of “he’s too important to his team to do something like this.”
- As for Soderberg himself, he seemed a bit defiant in the immediate aftermath, saying something to the effect of “it was nothing, I hit him cleanly.” In fact, the article’s headline is translated as “Soderberg sweeps aside the criticism,” so he clearly didn’t offer any kind of mea culpa. Soderberg went on to say that he only hit him in the arm, deserved “two minutes, maybe,” and was surprised at the match penalty.
- Soderberg appeared to change his tune after talking with Peter Andersson, who seems like he’s the Swedish Brendan Shanahan. Soderberg says he was told by Andersson that his stick rode up into the opposing player’s head after hitting his arm, and Soderberg said he trusted Andersson’s assessment.
- Soderberg’s teammate, Erik Lindhagen, said the hit was “not so nicely done” and was “unnecessary.” Clearly he’s never heard the American media’s rule about never publicly criticizing a teammate’s in-game actions… (heavy sarcasm there, just to be clear)
Anyways, it seems like Soderberg was pretty unapologetic, and even defiant. He and Ledin clearly had been going back and forth prior to the final cross-check, including a hefty face-wash from Ledin immediately prior. However, that doesn’t excuse cross-checking someone in the face. It reminded me a lot of Milan Lucic’s cross-check of Maxim Lapierre a few years back, though this one was a lot more malicious.
I believe the SEL will have to approve Soderberg’s transfer to the Bruins, so it’ll be interesting to see how the suspension affects those proceedings.