The Montreal Canadiens have confirmed the worst.
According to comments made by head coach Dominique Ducharme on Saturday, it would appear as though the team has lost the services of defenseman Sami Niku for the foreseeable future. The Canadiens confirmed that the former member of the Winnipeg Jets has suffered a concussion with Ducharme himself adding that Niku is out "indefinitely" as the result of the injury.
The news will come as little surprise to those who witnessed the play live, a play that was somehow missed by the officials on the ice. The hit was delivered by Ottawa Senators forward Josh Norris but Norris was not penalized, and I suspect that this could be to his detriment given the news delivered today.
This is going to be a very interesting case for the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety, one that I suspect will split the fan bases of the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens in the debate. There's no question that Sami Niku has his back turned when the hit is delivered and the way his head smashes into the protective glass, which appeared to have very little give to it, is tough to watch especially if you're a fan of the Habs.
That being said there's also no question that Niku turns his back very late into the play and gives Norris almost no time to react or adjust as a result. I suspect that, at the very least, the Department of Player Safety will weigh the fact that Niku materially changed the position of his body just moments before the hit in their decision, if they do indeed seek a hearing with Norris as a result of the hit.
Here you can see a number of angles on the replay. It's not hard to see why the Habs have ruled Niku out for the foreseeable future given the way this hit looks.
I mentioned earlier that the fact the play went uncalled could be a negative for Norris and that is due to the fact that this will also weigh in the league's decision on this matter. Had the officials called it at the time, the league would be less likely to step in with supplemental discipline.