During Game 1 of the first-round matchup between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Lightning, Leafs forward Kyle Clifford received a five-minute major and game misconduct for boarding Lightning forward Ross Colton. Although Toronto went on to blank Tampa Bay 5-0, that hit clouded the rest of the game. The NHL Player Safety announced that Kyle Clifford will have a hearing for his illegal check on Colton.
Toronto’s Kyle Clifford will have a hearing today for Boarding Tampa Bay’s Ross Colton.
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 3, 2022
Kyle Clifford To Have a Phone Hearing
According to CBC, Kyle Clifford will have a phone interview with the NHL player safety to determine his punishment. “Maple Leafs forward Kyle Clifford will have a hearing Tuesday with the NHL’s department of player safety after receiving a major penalty in Toronto’s playoff-opening win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday” (The Candian Press 1).
The penalty time during the matchup totalled twenty-six minutes. Most of those minutes were during a violent scrap halfway through the third period. Players on both sides also received fines for the altercation. Maple Leafs forward Wayne Simmonds and Lightning forward Pat Maroon will fork over $2,250. Corey Perry of the Lightning will lose $2,500. Many hockey fans wonder what the consequences will be for Kyle Clifford.
Lack of Faith In Player Safety
It is yet to be determined what the course of action Player Safety will take from this point forward. Clifford having a phone hearing means he will be punished in some form. Whether that will be merely a fine or a suspension remains to be seen. However, NHL Player Safety is notorious for being lenient on clear violators of safety regulations.
When Tom Wilson slammed Rangers forward Artemi Panarin‘s head on the ice, he only received a fine of $5,000. Although the fine is the maximum allowable under the CBA, Wilson did not serve a game suspended nor have any further consequences for his actions. The league is also less strict come playoff time, so the fact of Kyle Clifford being punished justly for his dangerous hit on Ross Colton is very much up in the air.