clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Johnny Boychuk Injury: The Kyle Clifford kneeing the NHL missed

New, comments

Nothing more to see here. Just a guy getting taken out through the back of his knee.

"Sweep the leg."
"Sweep the leg."
Harry How

Johnny Boychuk missed the New York Islanders' 1-0 win over the Coyotes, the victim of a knee-on-back-of-knee hit by Kings winger Kyle Clifford two nights prior.

Boychuk is being evaluated Sunday, according to a report from Arthur Staple in Newsday. Boychuk stayed in the game where the hit occurred, a 2-1 shootout win in Los Angeles. On the play, Clifford awkwardly barreled into the back of Boychuk's knee before himself crashing headfirst into the boards, evidently finding skating at the NHL level to be an insurmountable challenge.

Just so we're clear, this is neither a penalty in the view of the NHL referee, nor worthy of discipline in the view of the NHL office of player "safety."

In GIF form:

Surely the reasoning was Kyle Clifford just can't skate, or maybe "Islanders," or "West Coast game, fell asleep, now tune in for Rivalry on NBC."

The "hit" pleased neither the Isles fan base nor the Boychuk clan.

What's troubling with this: Clifford wasn't really going for the puck; as you can see on the video of the full sequence, he was anticipating Boychuk getting the puck first so that he (Clifford) could clock him. When the puck didn't get there soon enough, Clifford makes a feeble attempt to stab at the puck while awkwardly continuing his route toward Boychuk and crashing into the back of Boychuck's knee. He probably tried to slow up as he realized what was happening.

But not knowing what you're doing, not being able to hold up, trying but failing to undo your damage, or generally being a fourth-line mess -- none of these are supposed to absolve you of liability.