The National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety will almost assuredly be taking a look at this one.
On Saturday night the Los Angeles Kings were facing off against the Las Vegas Golden Knights and early on it looked like it was going to be a nice night of positives for a Kings team that has struggled to find rays of sunshine through the clouds this season. The game started off with a bang for the Kings when recently acquired waiver pick up Nikita Scherbak secured an important lead for the struggling Kings just roughly 8 minutes into the first period with a blistering solo effort.
The Kings never looked back from there eventually winning the game 6 - 2, a breath of fresh air for a team that has struggled to win in front of their home crowd and likely a huge weight off their shoulders as well given their struggles and the firing of their head coach earlier in the season. Unfortunately however the night was marred by an injury to well respected veteran Kyle Clifford, an injury that was caused by a needless and frankly reckless play.
The 27 year old was rocked by a big hit in the neutral zone courtesy of Las Vegas Golden Knights veteran Pierre Edouard Bellemare but the hit is not one that you would consider clean. It was not a late hit by any stretch of the imagination as Clifford had the puck on his stick just a moment before contact was made, but I'm not sure Bellemare made contact with his shoulder at all. Instead based on the video replays that I have seen this evening it looks as if Bellemare caught Clifford directly under the chin, and it was pretty obvious from Clifford's body language that his brain had been scrambled on the hit.
Clifford, who to his credit never left his feet in spit of the big shot to the head, stumbled back to the Kings' bench where he would put his head down clearly feeling the ill effects of the head contact. Well it wasn't long before the NHL's concussion spotters pulled him out of the game and later in the 3rd the King's would announce that he had been pulled out of the game for good. If the concussion spotters saw it than you can bet NHL Player Safety will be all over this one.