Officiating hockey is one of the toughest jobs in professional sports, especially when a player crosses a line, which Swedish Hockey League goaltender and former NHLer Kasimir Kaskisuo did on Thursday.
Kaskisuo, the backup netminder for Leksands IF, controlled a 2-0 lead before allowing three unanswered goals to HV71. The 29-year-old was visibly upset afterwards and took his frustrations out on one of the referees, hitting him in the back with his water bottle.
Following this inexcusable reaction, the veteran netminder received a match penalty and an ejection from the remainder of the contest. He has also been suspended five games and fined 23,750 Swedish krona — the equivalent of $2,300 USD.
Kaskisuo will be forced to sit out Leksands’ final three regular-season games and its first two playoff matchups. But given that he is the club’s No. 2 goaltender, he may have already played his last contest of 2022-23.
The SHL handed down its ruling on Friday, describing Kaskisuo’s actions as “fully deliberate and inappropriate.” The league’s disciplinary committee also issued a statement, explaining its ruling on the netminder’s supplemental discipline.
“All forms of improper body contact against a referee or other official must be punished with game misconduct on the ice (Rule 40.1) and reported to the disciplinary committee. The footage shows that Kasimir Kaskisuo picks up his water bottle after the final whistle and throws it at the referee, who is some distance away with his back to Kaskisuo.
“The bottle hits the referee’s head. Kaskisuo shall be punished for physical abuse of officials and shall lead to a suspension in accordance with the decision above. Kaskisuo must also pay a fine in the amount stated in the decision.”
After receiving his suspension, the 6-foot-3 goaltender provided his side of the story, saying he let his anger consume him following a few poor calls and a costly goal against. But he felt embarrassed about how he handled the incident immediately afterwards.
Kaskisuo also apologized for disrespecting not only the official he hit with his water bottle but also his teammates and the Leksands organization.
“After an obvious too many men on the ice and/or offside in the same situation, I let in a poor goal in an important loss, and my emotions and frustration took over,” Kaskisuo said, per Scouting the Refs. “As an athlete on the highest level, I should handle these things in another way. In this case I didn’t, and for that I’m very sorry and feel embarrassed about it. I apologize to the referee, my teammates, the organization, and the fans.”
The Vantaa, Finland, native has spent two seasons with Leksands IF, posting a 2.78 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage across 60 games. He also owns a pair of shutouts, both of which occurred in 2021-22.
Despite being undrafted, Kaskisuo made his NHL debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 16, 2019 against the Pittsburgh Penguins, allowing six goals on 38 shots. The Nashville Predators also used him in relief the following season, where he faced three shots over 15:22 of ice time.
Kaskisuo was named to the 2019-20 AHL All-Star Game while registering a 2.79 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 27 games with the Toronto Marlies that year.