NHL suspends Leafs forward Clifford 1-game for boarding
TORONTO (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford has been given a one-game suspension for a boarding incident in Toronto’s playoff-opening win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The NHL’s department of player safety issued the suspension on Tuesday following a hearing with Clifford. It described Monday’s incident as a forceful hit to a defenseless player who is no longer in possession of the puck.
Clifford was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct 6:59 into Game 1 of the first-round series for a hit on Ross Colton.
The Tampa forward went face-first into the glass, but he escaped serious injury.
Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe said Tuesday before the suspension was announced that Clifford’s penalty put the Leafs in a tough spot.
“He’s been around the game a long time and has played that way a long time,” the coach said. “He paid for it in that moment. We paid for it as a team.”
The Leafs won Game 1 5-0 over the two-time defending Stanley Cup champions. Clifford will miss Game 2 on Wednesday.
The NHL also announced Toronto forward Wayne Simmonds and Tampa Bay forwards Corey Perry and Patrick Maroon were fined $2,250 apiece for unsportsmanlike conduct during the game.
The three players were instigators of a third-period fight.
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