Islanders’ Mayfield sent off for scary blow to Barkov – .

Islanders’ Mayfield sent off for scary blow to Barkov – .

Barkov had to be helped out of the ice after receiving a knee-to-knee blow. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)

Intentional or not, it was a brutal blow.

New York Islanders defenseman Scott Mayfield was sent off from Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers for a knee strike to forward Aleksander Barkov, who needed help off the ice and did not come back.

Mayfield was given a five-minute middle finger and game misconduct for the knee kick, which furthered the Islanders’ woes as they trailed the Panthers 4-0 in the second period at the time of the incident. The Panthers have announced that Barkov will not return shortly after the start of the third period.

The coup instantly split the Internet between “intentional” and “unintentional” believers.

Some believe Mayfield could not have deliberately knocked down a knee to Barkov due to the defenseman’s speed and commitment to the hit before the Panthers captain turned around. Others say Mayfield was just trying to make contact with the only available part of Barkov’s body, regardless of security, and made no attempt to slow down.

It’s likely that Mayfield will also get a hearing with the NHL’s Player Safety Department for the hitting, which could result in a suspension if the league deems the punishment appropriate.

Barkov, 26, has nine goals and 16 points in 14 games this year as the Panthers ended a four-game losing streak with their eventual 6-1 win over New York.

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