I’m going to start off by reminding you that I am a Rangers fan and some of this maybe a bit of homer-ism but I also want to say that I don’t think I’ve ever been more right in my life.
Here is the hit in question.
This is where I wish I had the tech skills to make my own NHL suspension video with a super dry voice like Brendan Shanahan breaking this shit down. Because of the fact I can’t even connect a wifi-printer without myself having an episode, I’ll just write out my points.
This Hit Was to an Unsuspecting Player
How many times have we heard this one? The NHL has tried to make this point made that they will not deal with hits to unsuspecting players. Oh yeah NHL, do you want to prove that? Because, if you do, this was as unsuspecting as they come. Smith didn’t have a clue Clifford was coming in gun blazing here and honestly got pretty lucky with the fact that he wasn’t hurt (or that we aware of at least). Nothing says tough guy like hitting someone full speed with their head turned to you. Gutless, absolutely gutless.
Head Contact? Ya think?!
Wham bam shoulder to the head there. Clifford makes absolutely zero attempt to hit Smith anywhere but the head. Actually, to be honest, it looks like his head was exactly where he wanted to go. Yes, he did change direction but however that doesn’t help your case when the direction he turned was directly towards Smith’s head. Lastly, there is even a follow through after the hit. Clifford out here being like a trained assassin is as wild as it gets. Kyle fucking Clifford, man.
George Parros Better Put His Money Where His Mouth Is
“I’ve always thought that they could have been a bit harsher on certain plays that I felt where clearly someone intended to do something that was away from the play, had nothing to do with the game and no benefit other than to disable or hurt a person,” Parros said. “Just trying to go a little bit harder on those, because I felt it’s been soft in some instances.”
The puck may have been around that area but in no way was Smith really a part of that play. Why? Because he was retreating back to his defensive position. Why did Clifford do this then? Because he wanted to set the tone for the game, and in a sense I respect that. Normally big hits can get the boys all sorts of pumped up, but in the end this was a giant scum bag hit. If I were Smith, I wouldn’t have gotten off the ice until he received a 5 and a game. Nothing like an old fashioned sit in at center ice to garner the NHL’s attention.