Kyle Clifford skated for approximately 20 minutes after today’s morning skate and shot some pucks, but did not participate in the intense skating and drills with Scott Parse and the players who are expected to be scratched tonight. The Kings are still listing Clifford as having an upper-body injury, but they’re certainly following the protocol for a player recovering from a concussion. Clifford returned to the ice today, one week after being hit by Vancouver’s Byron Bitz, one week being the minimum off-ice time for a player who has suffered a concussion. Clifford was not available for comment after he skated today. Incidentally, Bitz is now eligible to play again, after a two-game suspension, but isn’t expected to be in Vancouver’s lineup tonight.
Clifford’s name also came up today in the context of the hit delivered by Phoenix’s Raffi Torres on Chicago’s Marian Hossa last night. Torres has been suspended indefinitely by the NHL, pending a disciplinary hearing. Darryl Sutter was asked for his opinion on the Torres hit.
SUTTER: “We’re big into that time between when you have the puck and when you don’t. That’s probably the biggest thing, when you look at it. I didn’t watch it, other than live, but there was time between when the player lets go of the puck and the contact. Whatever it is, is what it is. We’ve already seen, in our series, where a player got suspended for two games, and we lost a player who went for a five-minute skate today, which was a pretty brutal hit. The variety of the way the protocol is, in terms of suspensions, you really don’t know. We have opinions on what we thought of last night and what we thought of suspensions yesterday and what we thought of suspensions in our series, but our opinions don’t really have much impact on anything.’’