April 12, 2012
Bitz banned for hit on Clifford
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER - No absurd, slap-on-the-wrist fine for Vancouver Canucks fourth-line winger Byron Bitz.
Bitz was handed a two-game suspension Thursday for his boarding infraction on Los Angeles Kings forward Kyle Clifford in the series opener.
Bitz was given a major penalty and game misconduct.
"It was kind of an unfortunate play. By the time I made it to the hit, he had turned a little bit and ran into the glass," Bitz said before word came down of his punishment. "I had no intention of targeting the head or injuring anybody. That's not the way I play. It was an unfortunate play. The referees made the call and it cost our team a goal. It's my fault.
"I don't feel very good about it."
Clifford didn't finish the game due to a suspected concussion. Kings head coach Darryl Sutter said the big winger definitely won't play in Friday's Game 2, but wouldn't divulge what his injury was.
"I don't think we're going to be any different than any other team talking about injuries. You know the old standard, upper-body injury," Sutter said.
It's expected the Kings will insert rookie Andrei Loktionov or enforcer Kevin Westgarth, although Sutter joked: "I was talking to Bernie Nicholls this morning about it. He doesn't know if he's quite game ready."
As for the Canucks, options include dressing Andrew Ebbett or Dale Weise.
Considering concussed forward Daniel Sedin didn't skate, it's not expected he'll return, either.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault didn't even verbally respond when asked about Sedin's status for the game.
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak