The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/31/11 at 11:15 PM ET
Somehow, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader managed to pass his baseline tests in the “quiet room” and return, and scored a goal no less, after taking a shoulder directly to the head from St. Louis Blues defenseman Ian Cole. Cole received 2 minutes for an illegal check to the head. [edit: at 11:14 PM: Here’s a better video]:
Here’s hoping that Fox Sports Detroit posts Mickey Redmond’s discussion of player safety as it applies to shoulder and elbow pads, too, as he did a better job of explaining what’s what in terms of protection being used as a weapon than Don Cherry’s done over the past ten years (aside from hitting Ron MacLean in the head, which never hurts).
And yes, Wings coach Mike Babcock suggested that the hit was doubtlessly suspension-worthy.
Update: This isn’t great, either, but here’s the hit in slow motion. Slow motion can be a dangerous thing as it allows us to assume that the hitter meant even more sinister intent than he already planned in the half second before the hit:
The last two games, Abdelkader’s come up big, too. He’s filling in for injured third-line center Darren Helm and now has goals in back-to-back games in that role. In this game, he also came back from a punishing blow to the head 9:11 into the game by Ian Cole that knocked him out of the game until the start of the second period.
“Maybe the hockey gods were looking down on me,” Abdelkader said. “(The hit) is just one of those plays we want to take out of the game. I don’t know if he intentionally went after my head. It’s one of those bang-bang plays. I’m just glad I could come back and help the team out.’‘
Cole was assessed a minor for an illegal hit to the head, but the Wings were unable to capitalize on the resulting power play – going 0-for-2 on the man advantage in the first and 0-for-4 for the game.
“I don’t like the hit,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “The hit should be a suspension, for sure, but I thought Abby did a real good job and he played well the last two periods – more ice time. He played against good players and played well.”
Cole said it wasn’t an intentional targeting of Abdelkader’s head.
“I just stepped up,” he said. “I think he saw me coming at the last second and tried to cut back inside real quick. I had him lined up. I wasn’t going to go high. I wasn’t going to go for the head. I was just going right for his shoulder. He tried to cut back and avoid, and he put his head right into my shoulder.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.