They said it was only an exhibition game, but nobody seemed to let the players for USA and Canada in on it.
In their first of two pre-tournament games ahead of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, the physicality was on full display between the North American rivals. That materialized in post-whistle scuffles, hard body checks and in one case, a hit bad enough to get Ryan Kesler tossed from the game.
Towards the end of the second period, with USA leading Canada 3-1, Kesler chased a puck into the Canadian zone. Getting there first was Canada defenseman Shea Weber, but his back was always turned to Kesler. The Anaheim Ducks forward didn’t pull up, driving Kesler hard into the boards and sending the new Montreal Canadiens blueliner to the ice in a heap.
The hit sparked some anger from Team Canada as Jonathan Toews jumped in and dropped his gloves to get at Kesler. It’s probably a good thing he got there first because after Weber got up, he was looking for blood.
Kesler got a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. It is expected that the NHL will be reviewing hits for the tournament, but it’s hard to imagine anything more will come from that considering the referees got the call on the ice. It’s certainly not a good hit, either way.
It was pretty apparent that both teams had a desire to set a physical tone. They’ll play one more exhibition game against each other on Saturday and we can probably expect more of the same. The rivals are in the same group at the World Cup and will meet Sept. 20 in Toronto.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / WATCH: USA’s Ryan Kesler ejected from exhibition game for hit on Shea Weber