After technically being suspended because of the match penalty until the league could review, there was no hearing scheduled by the league and thus no suspension for Clifford.
Late in the game with the Kings holding a 4-3 lead -- shocking, I know -- Brule pushed the puck up the ice along the boards through the neutral zone and watched as the play developed ahead of him. Moments later Clifford came from behind and delivered a hit that was either to the high chest or the head. Either way it ended up getting Brule's head and Clifford was shown the gate while also being given a five-minute major.
As you can hear, the Kings broadcasters -- who I must recognize as being some of the most impartial and rational home-team announcers in the NHL -- debate whether it was a hit to the head or not of Brule. What they can't argue is that the hit was delivered very high on Brule and as a result if nothing else the follow through caught Brule's head.
I didn't think Shanahan would go easy Clifford in this case. The hit was unnecessary; it came to an unsuspecting player more or less from behind well after the puck had advanced up the ice. Throw in the placement of the hit and Brule leaving the game and you get the sense it's going to be a couple games minimum for Clifford.
But I admit, I'm as lost as a lot of people with what's OK and what's not.
Plays like this seem to have greatly reduced as the season has gone along, Shanny hasn't seemed anywhere near as busy to me in the past few weeks. So perhaps the players are learning, but there will still be hits coming through like this.
On the season Clifford has four goals and six assists for the Kings, playing the dirty minutes on the bottom lines for L.A.
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