Connor Clifton Hit With Suspension For Headshot

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Connor Clifton had a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Saturday for delivering a headshot Friday night to New Jersey Devils center Nico Hischier. 

Hischier did not return in the third period, for “precautionary reasons,” according to head coach Lindy Ruff. Clifton received a match penalty.

The DoPS ruling has levied a two-game suspension on the Sabres blueliner. 

"Clifton finishes a high, hard check that cuts in front of Hischier's core, making his head the main point of contact," said the league in its ruling. 

"If Clifton wants to continue this hit, he must stay low and choose an angle that hits through Hischier's shoulder and core... This is an illegal check to the head." 

Clifton also forfeits $34,722 in pay as a result. 

He sounds truly sorry for the hit, saying today that he hopes Hischier is OK. Clifton called it a "mis-timed hit," and a "mistake." He adds that he thought Hischier was going to carry the puck over the blue line, and he certainly didn't intend to make contact with the head.

Ruff says that Hischier will not play in the Devils game on Sunday at home vs. the Minnesota Wild.