Vancouver Canucks forward Byron Bitz will face a disciplinary hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his hit on Los Angeles Kings winger Kyle Clifford, the league announced Thursday afternoon.
Bitz shoved Clifford into the glass from behind near the midway point of the second period Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the two clubs. Bitz was given a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct on the play. Clifford did not return to action and his status is unknown for Friday's Game 2.
Bitz has never been suspended in his NHL career, so he's not a repeat offender, but the league has shown precedent already in these playoffs when it comes to suspending or not suspending players for hits which cause injury. Brendan Shanahan, the league's chief of player safety, cited the lack of injury to Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg as the reason not to suspend Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber.
Given that Clifford failed to return to Game 1 and he's still up in the air for Game 2, it's certainly possible Bitz sits for at least a game, if not more.
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