ST PAUL, MN - FEBRUARY 9: (L-R) Jared Spurgeon #46, Niklas Backstrom #32, Mikko Koivu #9 and Carson McMillan #45 of the Minnesota Wild look on as Byron Bitz #34 of the Vancouver Canucks dives after the puck during the first period on February 9, 2012 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Byron Bitz Suspended 2 Games For Hit On Kyle Clifford

Byron Bitz was ejected from Game 1 for his hit on Kyle Clifford, and the Canucks forward was suspended two games for the deed.

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Byron Bitz Suspended 2 Games For Kyle Clifford Hit

Byron Bitz has been suspended two games by the NHL for his hit on Kyle Clifford in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the league announced on Thursday evening. He'll miss Games 2 and 3 of the series, while it's still unknown just how long Clifford will be out with the injury he sustained on the play.

Here's the explanation from NHL player safety chief Brendan Shanahan:

It's clear that injury is a major component in the decision whether or not to suspend a player. In opting not to suspend Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators for his, um, predatory smash of Henrik Zetterberg's head, Shanahan cited the lack of injury to the Detroit Red Wings forward on the play -- even though concussion symptoms could still potentially arise down the line.

By injuring Clifford, however, Bitz likely solidified his suspension, even if the intent wasn't there like it clearly was on Weber's hit. He'll sit for two games as a result and the Canucks will go on without him.

Stick with SBNation.com for full series coverage of Kings vs. Canucks.

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