Alex Edler goes knee-on-knee with Eric Staal at World Hockey Championships [VIDEO]

Canucks fans have been wanting Alex Edler to play a more physical game for years. He’s proven in the past, to Drew Doughty, for instance, that he can be an effective and devastating hitter, but he has been frustratingly inconsistent with that side of his game.

Edler is such a low-key guy that one of his defining traits is his ability to take a nap almost anywhere. That seems to seep into his play. He remains calm and relaxed on the ice, but never seems to get riled up enough to throw a big hit. He certainly never seems to get emotionally involved enough to get angry and throw a dirty check.

That’s why it was shocking to see him go knee-on-knee with Eric Staal during Team Sweden’s game against Team Canada at the World Championships. It was an ugly, ugly hit that will likely see Staal miss significant time and earn Edler a hefty suspension.

(Vine for now. Regrettably, the video has been taken down. I will try to find a replacement.)

I hate knee-on-knee hits. They can potentially end careers and seeing Staal writhing on the ice in obvious agony was difficult to watch.

It’s a hit that Edler simply can’t make. It’s also one that I don’t think he intended.

Most of the time what leads to a knee-on-knee hit is a player lining up a hit then, realizing he’s going to miss his target, sticking out his leg. One of the reasons we were so upset about David Porter’s knee-on-knee with David Booth last season was that Porter stuck his leg out and kept it out for a significant period of time.

The first half of the formula fits the Edler hit. He’s aiming to hit Staal square, but Staal jukes to the inside, bending over and removing the possibility of a shoulder-to-shoulder hit. At that point, Edler has to give up on the hit. And honestly, he seems to.

That’s the best screenshot I could capture of the moment of impact. It’s actually a little after, but it still illustrates my point. Edler doesn’t stick his leg out; he actually tucks it in, like he’s trying to step around Staal.

That said, he still hit him knee-on-knee and bears the responsibility for it and for the consequences of Staal’s injury. He absolutely deserves a suspension.

Edler received a 5-minute major and, under IIHF rules, every major penalty earns a game misconduct. Given how severe the injury appeared and the strictness of the IIHF, it’s entirely likely that Edler will be gone for the rest of the tournament. With how emotional Edler was as he left the ice, throwing his stick down the hall as he stormed off the ice, it’s likely Edler knows it too.

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20 comments

  1. rsen9
    May 16, 2013

    Cover picture for this post would go great with that Schneider Shark template.

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  2. steveB
    May 16, 2013

    Oh no! I did not need to hear that. :-(
    Ultra Boy is a repeat offender too, after his collision with the wandering Phoenix goalie, Mike Smith.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      May 16, 2013

      The NHL and the IIHF don’t share repeat offender lists.

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    • obituary mambo
      May 19, 2013

      After this game Mike Smith is probably the only player in the league who actually thinks Edler is a dirty player (putting aside the fact that he is responsible for any damage incurred during Edler’s “hit” on him in that game). The fact that he also happened to be playing in this game is actually quite remarkable. Fortunately, Harrison is right and this suspension will not impact Edler’s NHL record.

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  3. Dave
    May 16, 2013

    His leg swings back with the impact, as he is taking his weight off that leg and trying to get it out of the way. If there were any intent, his right leg would have plowed through Staal’s.

    I read about this first on Puck Daddy. From the comments there I was expecting to see before photos of Edler adding metal plates over his shin guards, and pre-game tweets where he placed a bounty on Staal’s head.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      May 16, 2013

      Yeah, from that reverse angle it actually looks like he’s trying to avoid knee on knee contact at the last second.

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      • tyler
        May 22, 2013

        not at all. that is how u do a knee on knee hit. u have to lift up your leg and angle it towards the pother persons or else Edler would have been in extreme pain as well.

        your all idiots and Edler should be sued because this was as intentional as it gets. he should be stripped of his gold medal since he did anything but hurt Canada’s chance to win my taking out the Captain.

        NHL should look in to these kind of hits when dishing out punishment during the season because you get the jest of how the player wants to play without strict NHL coaching and rules

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  4. Zach Morris
    May 16, 2013

    I learned pretty quick to not do knee on knee hits playing ball hockey and soccer. The lack of padding means everyone gets hurt.

    However, sometimes you literally cannot avoid an unintentional knee on knee collision, though it looks like Edler did his darnednest here.

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    • best behaviour
      May 19, 2013

      Thank you! I’m desparately confused by this blog post: “like he’s trying to step around Staal.

      That said, he still hit him knee-on-knee and bears the responsibility for it and for the consequences of Staal’s injury. He absolutely deserves a suspension.”

      So: “he’s trying to step around Staal… He absolutely deserves a suspension.”

      Uh-huh. I’m losing interest in hockey every day.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        May 19, 2013

        I’m desperately confused by this comment. Edler is responsible for his actions on the ice. Whether he intended to hit Staal knee-on-knee is beside the point: he hit him knee-on-knee. He deserves a suspension for that.

        Was their intent on Edler’s part? I don’t think so. But suspensions don’t require intent. There are a number of things Edler could have done to avoid the hit entirely. He could have approached Staal from a different angle to ensure that he got full body contact with the hit. He could have skated right around him in order to get on the goal side of Staal to prevent him from getting a chance on net instead of being so far out of position to make that hit. He could have stopped instead of continuing to coast into Staal.

        He didn’t do any of those things. He hit Staal knee-on-knee. Intentional or not, that’s a suspension.

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  5. Justin
    May 17, 2013

    Maybe Edler saw that Staal was looking down at the puck and wanted to avoid a 942 game suspension (or talking to…who knows) from Shanahan via rule 48.1. I realize it’s international, but the Shanaban knows no boundaries, just as it knows no consistency.

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  6. Anthony
    May 17, 2013

    It was strange to hear on team1040, crawford, websites, opinions everywhere saying dirty hit… edler was sticking his leg out, blah blahh. When I first saw it yesterday early on, it seemed really clear he was just trying to avoid him. Your screen cap captures it pretty good. The video angle from center ice shows it really clear that he didn’t stick his leg out. People are getting a bit hyper sensitive. Accidents happen.

    Nonetheless, he probably could’ve tried harder to get out of the way and besides, Sweden is probably better off, he was such a liability most of the year for Vancouver.

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  7. Mike
    May 18, 2013

    Are you guys stupid??? Staal stays on the same track .. If Edler was trying to avoid him he had plenty of time to do so.. To imply that he tried to avoid him only after impact is ridiculous. His leg gets knocked backward because of the force of an impact powerful enough to do serious damage. It’s simple physics, you dumbies. And he didn’t need to stick his leg out because he’d already aimed it perfectly at Staal’s knee. The dirtiest play in hockey and if you have any doubt just wait till you see the reaction from true experts; his fellow players in the NHL.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 18, 2013

      Staal twisted his upper body as he played the puck, bending over at the waist and removing the possibility of a hit to his shoulder. Edler wasn’t trying to avoid him initially because he had his shoulder lined up for a hit, but you see him lift his right leg and move it towards his left leg just before impact. He’s obviously trying to step around him. He didn’t succeed.

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      • Tom 1040
        May 19, 2013

        The ‘anti-Shanny’ has spoken.

        Can you imagine if it were Marchand on Edler during the season…?

        I am sure it would have been exactly the same comment… :)

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      • Tom 1040
        May 19, 2013

        Also, insults abound.

        No comment from you though, Daniel.

        Or is it just me?

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    • Tyler
      May 22, 2013

      exactly. wagner stop talking. as a sports reporter or whatever the hell this is i get why you are defending Edler but please stop making ti out as if he tried to avoid hitting him..

      if youi watch the play, Edler comes in straight at him from a ways out. he has him lined up. he could have laid a check on him EASY and he would have been caught with his head down.

      BUT, instead he lifts his knee and slams it right in to Stalls. That it HOW you do a knee on knee hit.. he HAS to lift his own knee to make the impact harder and brace the impact on his own knee.

      but needless to say, you are all idiots. watch the play. not the stupid picture this dumby posted.

      in no way shape or form did he try to avoid it. by lifting his knee he slammed it right in to the sweet spot which he would have missed or been a SHIN on SHIN collision if he DIDNT lift his leg.

      use your heads and stop defending criminals. Edler should miss NHL time for this ridiculous hit

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  8. Vicente V. Fleming
    May 19, 2013

    Well, you know, it was a reckless, dangerous bit of contact on Edler’s behalf. But I don’t care what you say, Edler does not stick his leg out. Look at the 45 second mark. Edler stays the course. He does not deviate. That’s the problem, because by not deviating he hits Staal knee on knee and obviously hurts him very badly. It’s bad contact. Edler should have made some attempt to avoid it.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      May 19, 2013

      I think he does try to avoid it. Just before the hit he moves his right leg in, towards his left leg. He didn’t do enough to avoid the hit, but he certainly made an attempt.

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  9. Tom 1040
    May 20, 2013

    Speaking of ‘Shanny-isms’, Doug Wilson just screwed his club.

    His very valid comments (as most would agree) re: the Torres suspension violated league policy – Bettman policy.

    The motto (as stated by Norman Finklestein) of most New York lawyers is, ‘Never forgive. And, never forget.’

    Wilson question openly league integrity which taints the brand. Das is verboten.

    Hence, his team is doomed to larger market, larger revenue LA. as was Washington to the NYR with 6 consecutive minor penalties in Game 7 – note the comments of Ovechkin and McPhee.

    Conspiracy? You bet. Don’t mess with the brand or the brand will mess with you.

    This league is tainted and is clearly seen with how so many games are ‘managed’ (rhymes with damaged)

    I wonder if Shanny had to get circumcised before taking on the position of league sheriff?

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