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Kings' Drew Doughty out 'minimum of seven days'; signs point to concussion

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Kings defenseman Drew Doughty will be out "a minimum of seven days" as the result of a hit by Carolina's Erik Cole in the first period of the team's 4-3 victory over the Hurricanes on Wednesday, General Manager Dean Lombardi said Thursday.

Lombardi would not specify the nature of the injury, but signs point to Doughty having suffered a concussion on being hit by Cole more than a second after Doughty had released the puck.

A one-week rest is the waiting period prescribed for players who suffer blows to the head and afterward don't pass certain cognitive tests. After a week, players are tested again and the results are compared with baseline tests they took when they were fit. If the results don't match, they won't be cleared to play. 

The NHL has not punished Cole, and several league sources said no punishment is expected because league executives who watched the hit were split on whether Cole intended to hit Doughty or if the contact between them was incidental. Some also saw it as a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, not a shoulder-to-head blow.

The new rule regarding illegal checks to the head states that "a lateral or blind side hit to an opponent where the head is targeted and/or the principle point of contact is not permitted." Apparently, the lords of discipline did not think Cole targeted Doughty's head in this case.

Lombardi, who traveled to Phoenix with the team for Thursday night's game against the Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena, said he wanted to speak with league officials before commenting on the NHL's handling of the incident.

In the meantime, Peter Harrold will make his season debut in the match with Phoenix, filling Doughty's spot and paired with Doughty's defense partner, Willie Mitchell.

Matt Greene, who underwent shoulder surgery over the summer and was given clearance to resume full hockey activity Wednesday, needs a few more practices before he's ready to rejoin the lineup. He's likely to return sometime during this five-game trip.

In addition, forwards Brayden Schenn and Kevin Westgarth will return to the lineup after each sat out one game. Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis will be out.

We'll have more later from Lombardi and from the game. The Coyotes, incidentally, will be without team captain Shane Doan while he begins serving a three-game suspension for a hit to the head of Ducks forward Dan Sexton on Sunday.

-- Helene Elliott in Phoenix

Photo: Drew Doughty. Credit: Harry How / Getty Images.

 
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