Matt Duchene knocks Ondrej Kase out of the game with an elbow to the head.

Matt Duchene knocks Ondrej Kase out of the game with an elbow to the head.

Kase takes a huge shot to the head.

Jonathan Larivee

The Toronto Maple Leafs may have lost one of their forwards just days before the trade deadline.

On Saturday night the Leafs faced off against the Nashville Predators and during the opening minutes of that game's second period, veteran forward Ondrej Kase suffered what looks to be a relatively serious concussion. Kase was attempting to make a play in the neutral zone when he collided with Predators forward Matt Duchene, with the end result of that collision leaving Kase seemingly out on his feet.

Duchene was streaking down the ice with the puck when Kase appeared to reach forward in an ill fated attempt at stripping him of that puck. That reach from Kase caused Duchene's body to collide with Kase's extended head and neck, rocking the Leafs forward's head back and causing him to spin around as a result of the force of the impact.

Now I must admit when I first watched the impact at full speed I believed this to be purely incidental contact. Here's a look at the collision between Kase and Duchene at full speed to give you an idea of what we saw live.

Watching it back in slow motion however has left me with some doubts about whether or not this was truly the result of an accident however. When watching it in slow motion you can clearly see Duchene's elbow extend out right before contact between the two players is made, resulting in Duchene's elbow striking Kase directly in the head and effectively knocking him out.

It could very well be that this was simply a result of Duchene's attempt to avoid the contact rather than an intentional elbow, but I will say that the slow motion replay does make it look questionable at the very least. It will be very interesting to see if the National Hockey League's Department of Player Safety decides to get involved in this particular incident, especially considering both the severity of the injury suffered by Kase as well as the fact that there was no call made on the play.