Engelland suspended five games for ‘reckless’ Abdelkader headshot

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The NHL has suspended Pittsburgh defenseman Deryk Engelland five games for hitting Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader in the head on Saturday night.

“Engelland tucks his shoulder and drives through Abdelkader, recklessly picking his head and making it the main point of contact,” explained Patrick Burke of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. “Abdelkader is leaning forward and his head is exposed.”

Here’s the video:

Engelland was given a match penalty for illegal check to the head and was tossed from the game. Abdelkader struggled to get up and didn’t return, and is currently out of action while undergoing concussion protocol.

As for suspension length, the Pittsburgh rearguard’s prior history was taken into account — Engelland was suspended three games for a hit on Chicago’s Marcus Kruger during the 2011-12 campaign — as was the fact Abdelkader suffered an injury.

Engelland will miss Pittsburgh’s next five (EDIT: four, having already served one) games — at New York Rangers, versus Minnesota, versus Calgary and at Ottawa.

He will also forfeit $14,529.90 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.