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.
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