European referees are notorious for calling a much tighter game than their North American counterparts, and that’s especially true of international competition. Penalties that would sometimes be let go in the NHL or AHL might not fly when it comes to any of the IIHF tournaments.
However, just because the game is called tighter doesn’t mean players aren’t looking for an edge where they can get it, say by snapping their heads back on a near high stick or going down a bit easier than they may have otherwise on a trip. Call it embellishment or diving, but the hard sell works from time to time. That said, Kazakhstan winger and former NHLer Nigel Dawes may want to tone it down if he’s looking to get a favorable call at the World Championship.
During Tuesday’s game against Norway, Dawes threw a hit on and got tangled up along the boards with Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, a former NHLer in his own right, and the Norwegian rearguard retaliated with a quick tug on Dawes’ leg. Tollefsen’s infraction was enough to land a hooking penalty, but Dawes’ literal leap into the air to draw the call saw him sitting for two minutes for embellishment:
The chuckle by the play-by-play announcer is the right reaction. It’s almost hard to believe Tollefsen was whistled, too, but the thought must have been Dawes’ dive doesn’t come without the slight hook from the Norwegian defenseman. Or something like that.
Dawes is five seasons removed from his last game in the NHL and has been plying his trade in the KHL with Kazakhstan’s Barys Astana since the 2011-12 campaign. He was a fifth-round pick, 149th overall, of the New York Rangers in 2003 and played two seasons for the Blueshirts before brief stints with the Calgary Flames and Atlanta Thrashers.
There may be some confused by Dawes, a Winnipeg native, playing for Kazakhstan at the Worlds, but he, along with fellow Winnipegger Dustin Boyd and Brandon Bochenski, have been granted permission by the IIHF to play for the country at international competitions. Boyd, like Dawes, has been in Astana for the past five seasons, while Bochenski is the longest tenured of the three, having spent the past six seasons in Kazakhstan and captaining the club for the past two years.
(Video via Robert Soderlind/HockeyWebcast)