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Deryk Engelland On His Hit On Justin Abdelkader

from Sean Gentille of The Sporting News,

"I'm trying to get his body. I don't know if he (was) trying to poke the puck or jump around or something, but as his head comes up, I catch it (with) a shoulder in his head," Engelland said Monday. "I don't know if he's trying to jump around. But I'm expecting him to finish his check, and I've kind of gotta protect myself instead of turning away and getting hit and heading head-first into the boards."

That said, Abdelkader didn't appear to be attempting to throw a check, the two were several feet from the boards and Engelland appeared to shrug his shoulder upward. At minimum, he didn't nearly attempt to avoid contact, which is enough to earn a suspension on its own merit.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said he also believed Engelland's contact to be unintentional and was surprised that it merited an in-person hearing. He also noted that Engelland indeed caught Abdelkader in the chin with his shoulder, and that his suspension in December 2011 will play a role in the upcoming decision.

"Justin's leaning into the play, and I think Deryk's intention is to go stick-on-puck," Bylsma said.

more

added 12:18pm, I have added the video below in case you want to review the hit.

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Comments

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Stick on puck, until Abdelkader wins the race and Engelland throws his shoulder up right at Abdelkader’s face.

Posted by Robert on 12/16/13 at 01:10 PM ET

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what a load of sh!t. If you watch the replay, you can see both going for the , Engelland realizing he is going to miss the puck and changes his body position to deliver the check. Whether he targeted the head or not, I don’t know, but fact of the matter, he is changed his body position and direction he was moving to, to hit Abdelkader. This is the kind of hit that has to be given up.

Posted by George0211 on 12/16/13 at 01:15 PM ET

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Oh come one guys, you can see that with Abdelkader stretching to get the puck, Engelland obviously can assume Abdelkader is trying to “finish his check”.

rolleyes

Posted by Garth on 12/16/13 at 01:29 PM ET

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Not exactly what I would describe as a persuasive defense.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/16/13 at 01:55 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Does Engelland really believe himself?

Posted by TreKronor on 12/16/13 at 02:03 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Who else here thinks he’s laying preliminary groundwork for an appeal of a 6+ game suspension? Seems to me he’s just trying to utilize the media as a PR spin machine.

Good luck with that, Engelland.  Try as you might to lay blame at Abdelkader’s feet, the video evidence is pretty conclusive.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/16/13 at 02:04 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Deryk Engelland, “I don’t care what reality shows, I was just playing hockey and it was totally unintentional”.  And somewhere an angel gets its wings thrown into a shredder.

Posted by calquake on 12/16/13 at 02:18 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

“Justin’s leaning into the play, and I think Deryk’s intention is to go stick-on-puck,” Bylsma said.

That is why Engelland tucked his elbow in, LOL

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 12/16/13 at 02:36 PM ET

perfection's avatar

wait… do you guys actually think it WAS intentional? you think he was aiming for the face and trying to knock Abby out?

or is it more likely the case that it was totally unintentional and he was trying to hit him in the shoulder but aimed improperly and is simply not fast or talented enough to adjust at the last moment?

that seems more likely to me. I feel like the fast majority of these headshots obviously aren’t “intentional” (unlike Neal’s knee the other night for example). Like the elbow Dats got to the chin, they seem to be the result of poor execution or poor decision making in the midst of an insanely fast game.

I get why there’s a suspension coming. It happened. As you guys point out, the video is pretty conclusive. He messed up. But to pretend it was malice and not incompetence is a bit extreme to me.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/16/13 at 02:36 PM ET

perfection's avatar

oops… should say the “vast” majority

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/16/13 at 02:37 PM ET

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I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt if he simply can’t remember exactly how it happened and what he was thinking, since it happens so fast.

But that’s the thing. Players need to do a better job thinking in the moment and choosing the right way to hit.

He had time to look at Abdelkader. You can see that.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 12/16/13 at 02:41 PM ET

Alan's avatar

or is it more likely the case that it was totally unintentional and he was trying to hit him in the shoulder but aimed improperly and is simply not fast or talented enough to adjust at the last moment?

What you’re trying to say here, is that Engelland failed Pronger Physics 101?

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/16/13 at 02:46 PM ET

perfection's avatar

He had time to look at Abdelkader. You can see that.

you can see that in slo-mo… but you’re talking about a matter of seconds here. these guys are playing this game at absurd speeds that TV (or even the nosebleeds) simply do not do justice. to actually see the prone player, register what you see, change your mind about making the hit, and then actually alter your physical position all in a matter of a second or two is clearly more difficult than it seems. I think one of Pav’s strongest assets besides his physical ability and work ethic is simply how much quicker his brain works than almost all other opponents.

I’m not saying the hit’s excusable… I get it that they are trying to change the culture so that their instinct (which is how these guys play more often than not at that speed) is to ease up when a player MIGHT be in a vulnerable position. It almost about foresight more than decision making because by the time you actually see and process the players position, it’s just too late to alter momentum. So they have to adapt to a new kind of situational awareness which this supplemental discipline is supposed to help.

but, I’m simply talking about “intent” here. He said he didn’t hit him in the head intentionally and folks here seem to be mocking that statement implying they DID in fact think he hit him in the head intentionally. To me that seems pretty obviously incorrect.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/16/13 at 03:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Quoting Mickey Redmond: “You know where your shoulder is going within an inch or two, even in an eighth of a second.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/16/13 at 03:05 PM ET

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Quoting Mickey Redmond

who?

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 12/16/13 at 03:23 PM ET

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But I’m expecting him to finish his check, and I’ve kind of gotta protect myself instead of turning away and getting hit and heading head-first into the boards.”

Why is this such an incomprehensible premise to people?

Quoting Mickey Redmond: “You know where your shoulder is going within an inch or two, even in an eighth of a second.”

Redmond also says that the best way for a player to protect himself from a hit is to initiate contact himself which is EXACTLY what Engelland is saying that he did.

Posted by godblender on 12/16/13 at 03:24 PM ET

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One other thing…I love all this idea that people in here have that when an opponent is skating hard towards another player near a puck, that player should somehow just assume that the player skating towards them ISN’T going to make contact with them. I realize that some people want all form of physical contact removed from the game but it is still hockey…at least for now.

Posted by godblender on 12/16/13 at 03:30 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Why is this such an incomprehensible premise to people?

Because the choice between blasting a guy in the head and turning your back to him is a falsely limited set of choices in this play.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/16/13 at 03:33 PM ET

calquake's avatar

  But I’m expecting him to finish his check, and I’ve kind of gotta protect myself instead of turning away and getting hit and heading head-first into the boards.”

Why is this such an incomprehensible premise to people?

Because that’s not what was happening.  Abby was in a vulnerable position.  Even if he would have “finished his check” Abby would have gotten the worst of it.

Redmond also says that the best way for a player to protect himself from a hit is to initiate contact himself which is EXACTLY what Engelland is saying that he did.

Posted by godblender on 12/16/13 at 02:24 PM ET 

Again what Engelland says and what the video shows are in direct conflict.

 

Posted by calquake on 12/16/13 at 03:34 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Quoting Mickey Redmond: “You know where your shoulder is going within an inch or two, even in an eighth of a second.”

yeah, I heard Mickey say that. but the fact is he played the game at a fraction of the speed that these guys play. He may have been a hall of fame player, but it was a different era and he simply cannot relate to today’s game on that level.

So George you really think that despite the threats of penalty/fines/suspension, these guys are INTENTIONALLY aiming for people’s heads and just hoping that it slips through? Or at the least, they are INTENTIONALLY hitting people in the head without considering consequences?
It really doesn’t seem more mathematically probable to you that these gumpy checkers just don’t have the agility or quickness to hold up if and when they realize they are on the wrong path?

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/16/13 at 03:34 PM ET

calquake's avatar

If players have to be responsible for their sticks then they have to be responsible for their bodies also.

Posted by calquake on 12/16/13 at 03:49 PM ET

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Why is this such an incomprehensible premise to people?

Fair point.  Head shots are fair game if you think he might be throwing a check, even though not a single thing that he does in any way implies that Abdelkader’s throwing a check at all.

Redmond also says that the best way for a player to protect himself from a hit is to initiate contact himself which is EXACTLY what Engelland is saying that he did.

Great, except that Redmond never said the best way to protect yourself is you hit someone else in the head.

There are ways to initiate contact without hitting someone in the head.

An inability to throw a clean hit is not an excuse to throw a dirty hit.

yeah, I heard Mickey say that. but the fact is he played the game at a fraction of the speed that these guys play.

Another great point.  The game is faster, therefore it’s ok to take out someone’s head because you aren’t good enough at the game to make quick assessments.

Posted by Garth on 12/16/13 at 04:20 PM ET

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I think it is plausible to excuse the accident when one is talking about the extreme periphery.  The errant stick, the trailing leg, stuff like that.  The closer the primary point of contact gets to the middle of the body, the less willing I am to allow for ‘oops my bad’ to be the default explanation.

I think Engelland specifically aimed high.  Perhaps not at Abby’s head, per se, but certainly at collarbone, at a minimum.  Guys do this and have done it for years because hitting very very high or very very low provides the most bang for the buck, impact wise.  It imparts the most force onto the target and allows the least mitigation due to mass.

The general problem is that for the past… well, forever I guess… it has been the responsibility of the hit-tee to get out of the way.  Guys in the NHL now have been playing for 15+ years that,with few exceptions, they can hit however they want.

Now, they can’t.  Assuming the NHL continues it’s strategy apace, it’s now more the responsibility of the hitter to make sure the hit is clean than it is the hit-tee to protect themselves against a dangerous play.

All that aside, Engelland’s bleeping eyes were dead on Abdelkader all the way in without any thought at all towards pursuing the puck, so he saw exactly where he was going to hit and knew how hard he was going to hit.  In this situation there’s literally no way I could conceive of some mitigation regarding intent to hit very high.  When that’s with a shoulder, full acceleration and full mass due to angle of approach… that means time off.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/16/13 at 04:21 PM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/16/13 at 03:21 PM ET

This.

Posted by Garth on 12/16/13 at 04:26 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Holy crap, I’m with you HiHD, completely. Well-said.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/16/13 at 04:30 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

  Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/16/13 at 03:21 PM ET

This.

Posted by Garth on 12/16/13 at 03:26 PM ET

Yup. I’d say thread is closed at this point but I’m no pharmacist.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 12/16/13 at 04:32 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/16/13 at 03:21 PM ET

Spot fuching on.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 12/16/13 at 06:25 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Honestly, I didn’t think it was a terrible hit. The elbow was in. I don’t see intent here, but I do agree with the idea that regardless of intent, kind of like how high sticking is called, this is the type of hit you want players to learn to give up.

The hit on Franzen against the Bolts was a lot worse in my eyes because the guy sure as hell looked like he basically punched Franzen in the face. At least on this hit, Engelland had the respect to bring his elbow close in and keep it in, in a somewhat reasonable attempt to throw a hard, but clean hit.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 12/17/13 at 09:55 AM ET

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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.