UFA, Russia -- Drama continued to dog Canada on the eve of the world junior hockey championship.
After hastily summoning Mark McNeill from home to replace an injured forward, Canada will now be without an important player for their first three games of the tournament.
The International Ice Hockey Federation handed forward Boone Jenner a three-game suspension on Monday for his late hit on a Swedish defenceman in Canada's final exhibition game.
Jenner will miss Canada's games against Germany on Boxing Day, Slovakia on Friday and the United States on Sunday. The Oshawa Generals forward is eligible to return for the final Pool B game before the medal round against Russia on New Year's Eve.
"Obviously it's really tough," Jenner said quietly following Tuesday's practice in Ufa. "I really want to play in this tournament and be out there with my teammates. I don't want to be in the crowd watching.
"There's nothing I can do now. The ruling was made and it was three games. I'm going to sit out the three games, cheer on the team and be ready for the fourth."
So for three games, Canada is minus their top faceoff man, key penalty killer, third-line centre plus a player with previous tournament experience all in one package.
"He's definitely a big loss for the hockey club," Canadian head coach Steve Spott said.
Also, winger Jonathan Drouin suffered a mild charley horse in Tuesday's practice. He was left off Canada's roster of players submitted for the tournament, to keep a spot open should another replacement player be needed.
Drouin's game fitness will be evaluated and the Halifax Mooseheads forward could have been added to the team's list up to two hours before the game versus Germany, according to Hockey Canada.
Belleville Bulls goaltender Malcolm Subban was to start versus the Germans.
It's been an eventful leadup to the 2013 world junior championship for Canada.
When Charles Hudon of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens was forced off the team late last week with a back injury late, McNeill rushed to catch up with the Canadians in Finland before the team headed to Ufa.
McNeill had been released from the team at selection camp in Calgary. Now the Prince Albert Raiders forward will centre Canada's third line in the absence of Jenner.
Swedish defenceman Jesper Pettersson suffered a broken wrist and a dislocated shoulder when Jenner checked him Saturday in a pre-tournament game in Finland.
The Swede was removed from the ice on a stretcher. Jenner was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging.
The International Ice Hockey Federation meted out additional discipline late Monday.
"The video material indicated that the hit was late and delivered with no intention to play the puck and with Pettersson being in a vulnerable position," the IIHF said in a statement. "It was Jenner's intention to deliver the forceful check in spite of having the opportunity to at least make an attempt to avoid contact on Pettersson.
"The hit was delivered far too late. This resulted in an injury to Sweden's Pettersson and for this Jenner is to be held accountable."
-- The Canadian Press
Team Canada's opening game against Germany began after press deadline this morning. Please read game coverage at winnipegfreepress.com