Deryk Engelland of the Pittsburgh Penguins delivered a pretty reckless hit on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger. It was a game-changing play in that the only penalty that resulted was an instigator penalty on Chicago's John Scott for the ensuing fight with Engelland. The Penguins scored on the ensuing penalty and won the game 3-2.
Well it took a couple of days, but Engelland was punished after all.
Department of Player Safety head Brendan Shanahan announced on Thursday that Engelland will be suspended three games for the hit. Here is his customary video.
This was one of the most clean-cut and easiest calls Shanahan has had so far. The explanation video is brief and doesn't give much in the way of a defense for Engelland at all.
The overriding factors are easy to see. Engelland launched himself off the ice to make the hit. More egregious was the fact that he finished the hit so high that his hands were elevated well above his own head on the follow through. Shanahan notes that Engelland had Kruger lined up for what could have been a clean hit but instead rose off the ice and made the head the principle point of the contact.
Also important to note for Shanahan is the fact that Kruger was diagnosed with a concussion. Whether you think it is right or not, injuries are taken into consideration for Shanahan on his judgments.
I think only the blindest of Penguins homers can complain about this decision. The baffling part is that the referees didn't make the call on the ice and it hamstrung the Blackhawks. It resulted in a quiet and obviously angry locker room after the game and has led to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews preaching music to almost every hockey fan's ears in his disdain for the instigator penalty.