Deryk Engelland's hit on Marcus Kruger (Video)
Posted on: December 20, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 10:59 pm
By: Adam Gretz
PITTSBURGH -- One of the most talked about plays during Pittsburgh's 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night was Deryk Engelland's hit (as seen in the above video) on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger in the first period. Even though Engelland was not penalized, it turned out to be a huge play in the game, and perhaps a decisive play.
Not only was it a questionable hit that will probably get a second look from the NHL, but the Penguins actually came away with a power play in the aftermath due to a fight between Engelland and Blackhawks forward John Scott, arguably the toughest and most intimidating heavyweight in the NHL. Both players were assessed five minute majors for fighting, while Scott picked up an additional instigator penalty as well as a 10-minute misconduct. The Penguins eventually scored on the ensuing power play thanks to Chris Kunitz's 12th goal of the season, and in a game that was decided by a single goal, that's an early (and huge) turning point.
Kruger was able to return to the game briefly, taking a couple of shifts throughout the remainder of the first period, but did not get a single shift over the final 40 minutes of regulation. After the game Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, "He's doing OK now, but we'll see tomorrow, we'll have a better idea of how he's doing. Tough hit, high hit. Tough area, tough spot."
Even though Scott's instigator penalty put the Blackhawks down a man and resulted in a goal against, his teammates were quite accepting of the additional penalty he took in an effort to stick up for his teammate.
"We have to find a way to kill that off for him," said forward Viktor Stalberg. "That's why we have him in the lineup some nights, he did what he's supposed to do."
"I'm always going to stand up for my teammates," said Scott. "I'm going to do that everytime, no matter who it is. I think anybody else on the team would have done the same thing."
The question now becomes whether or not the NHL has an issue with Engelland's hit. The first angle is difficult to see how much, if any, contact was made with the head, but when you look at the second and third angles it becomes a little more clear that Kruger took a hit to the head.
"I'm sure they'll take a look at it," said Stalberg. "I think we felt like he left his feet a little bit there."
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