Kassian done for series, done with "O"?

After having him sit out game #4 of their Western Conference Final, the OHL officially handed Zack Kassian a four-game suspension Tuesday for his cross-checking match penalty on Attack dman Jesse Blacker in the final minute of Saturday's loss. Monday's game will count towards the four-game penalty. (Included link solely for the picture of Kassian, with his bus pillow, ready for the four-plus hour trek north to OS.)

The Spitfires trail the Attack 3-1, so the tough Sabres prospect will miss the rest of the series if Windsor forces a Game 7. If Windsor loses, then Kassian will have already played the final game of his junior career.

Some excellent perspective on the incident comes courtesy of Yahoo's Sunaya Sapurji, who details among other things how Kassian and Blacker have different accounts of what happened. The incident happened at center ice, behind the play and outside of the scope of any camera in the rink.

Not surprisingly, both players have differing versions of the events.

“I gave him a little slash in the back of the legs and he embellished it,” said Kassian. “He embellished it obviously because he’s playing right now, he’s skating around fine. It got blown out of proportion with my history and all that stuff, but there’s nothing I can do about that now.”

Blacker said what Kassian failed to mention is that after he was knocked down on the ice, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound winger started to whack at him from behind.

“I felt cross-checks raining down on my head and ribs and it didn’t exactly feel good,” said the second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs. “The fans saw it. I can’t say I embellished it, I’m not the kind of player to dive.”


Kassian then re-states that he's learned from what is turning out to be quite the checkered past. In the past two years, he's been suspended by his team, by the OHL in the regular season, by the IIHF in the World Junior Championships, and again by the OHL in the playoffs.

“Buffalo drafted me to be that hard-nosed player that finishes checks and plays with that edge,” said the LaSalle, Ont., native. “I’m not going to lie, a couple of times in my junior career I went over that edge and I’ll be the first one to admit that. I think I’ve learned a lot over the years in the OHL.”

And despite the fact that he’s been forced to watching his team play, while he’s sitting out on a number of occasions – he’s still not used to being reduced to the role of observer.

“It definitely doesn’t (get easier),” said the Sabres prospect. “When you’re in the playoffs in the Western Conference final, it’s pretty huge because no one expected us to get this far. It just shows how tight this team is, Everyone believes in each other and to not be out there right now helping them fight for our (playoff) lives right now is not fun.”


It remains to be seen whether or not Kassian, who has all the tools to be a legit weapon for the Sabres once he reels it in, will head to Portland in support of the Pirates AHL playoff once Windsor's season concludes. However, I think the Sabres losing to the Flyers in the first round makes it easier to suggest that Kassian will be done when the Spits finish up.
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