For the first time in his young career, Tyler Toffoli may be getting a call from the Department of Player Safety.
During Saturday afternoon's game between the Kings and Canucks, Toffoli sent Vancouver Canucks winger Alex Burrows head first into the boards with a crosscheck to the back. Burrows stayed down on the ice for several moments before being helped from the ice.
You can see the play, which resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct for Toffoli, below:
The crosscheck to Burrows came just seconds after Toffoli had missed an opportunity to put the Kings ahead, and the Canucks went on to score the game-winning goal on the ensuing power play.
The case for suspending Toffoli: The hit was reckless, of that there is no doubt. It also came far enough away from the boards that Toffoli should have known hitting an opponent in the back from that distance could result in an injury. The Department of Player Safety has made it rather clear that if a player, in this case Burrows, does not change his course before the hit, the onus is on the hitter, which would be Toffoli. On top of that, the referees deemed the hit enough to warrant a game misconduct, which at the very least will put the hit on notice for review.
The case against suspending Toffoli: There's potential for the Department of Player Safety to view the five-minute major and game misconduct as time served, and Burrows did return to the game, albeit with less than five minutes remaining in the contest. It wasn't the worst hit from behind the game has seen. Also, Toffoli has no suspension history, which may get him off with a warning this time.
With Saturday's loss, the Kings fall two points back of the Calgary Flames for third place in the Pacific Division and two points back of the Winnipeg Jets for the second and final wild-card spot in the Western Conference.