The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to down the Detroit Red Wings by a 4-1 final last night, but the cost of the contest might be high for both teams. With less than a minute remaining in the second period, Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland dropped Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader with a hard check to the head.
Abdelkader wasn’t able to leave the ice under his own power and did not return for the second or third period of play. He has already been ruled out of Sunday’s contest against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Engelland was assessed a match penalty for the hit, which calls for automatic review from the NHL.
The league took a look at the contact, and apparently didn’t like what they saw. Engelland was offered an in-person hearing, which will take place on Wednesday according to the league’s official site. As per the NHL’s press release:
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland will have an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Wednesday after being assessed a match penalty Saturday night for a first-period hit on Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings.
Engelland was offered the opportunity for an in-person hearing as required by provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement for any suspension that can exceed five games.
Engelland spoke to reporters after the contest, and had this to say about the hit according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com:
He dumps it in and I try to finish my check. Obviously, I’m not trying to hit him in the head or anything like that, but I think I catch his chin a little bit before his body. Hopefully he’s all right — no intentions there to hurt anyone… It’s a quick play, it’s part of my game, playing physical. I’m not trying to target anyone’s head or anything like that. But whatever (the NHL does) you got to deal with it.
Not surprisingly, several Detroit players disagreed with Engelland’s view on the play. The NHL will have their say on Wednesday.