The Buffalo Sabres will have to make do without their co-captain as forward Chris Drury is out indefinitely with a suspected concussion.
Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said Friday the team has not yet determined the seriousness of the injury, but noted that Drury was experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
Drury was hurt during Thursday's 6-5 shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators in Buffalo.
The Sabres took exception when Ottawa right-winger Chris Neil hit Drury about five minutes into the second period. Drury was helped off the ice and needed more than 20 stitches to close a forehead gash after landing headfirst on the ice.
Neil was not penalized on the play and said after the game the hit was clean. Ruff disagreed with Neil's assessment.
"It was a predator-type of hit where Chris was vulnerable," Ruff said Friday. "Neil went out of his way to deliver a blow to Chris' head.
"It was a deliberate attempt to put somebody out."
When play resumed, every skater on the ice dropped his gloves and a massive brawl ensued.
Buffalo goalie Martin Biron, Sabres enforcerAndrew Peters and Ottawa netminder Ray Emery were all ejected and 110 penalty minutes were doled out.
After the officials calmed things down on the ice, Ruff and Ottawa coach Bryan Murray spent a few minutes jawing at each other from their benches.
"It was a shot to the head," said Ruff, who accused Neil of using his elbow, after the game. "I don't condone those type of hits.
"I don't care if you lose the game 10-1, you don't lie down after that," he added.
"I put out skill players and he sends out the five guys on his team that are going to start a fight," countered Murray, who said Neil hadn't used his elbow.
The loss of Drury, who leads the Sabres with 33 goals this season, is a big blow for a Sabres team that has been snake-bitten by injury problems.
Buffalo has had at least one player injured in each of its last six games, including forward Maxim Afinogenov (broken wrist) and defenceman Jaroslav Spacek.
The two clubs will face off again Saturday in Ottawa (CBC 7 p.m. ET - Ottawa region only).