December 20, 2011
NHL players are really making Brendan Shanahan's Christmas week much busier than it should be.
In the middle of the first period of tonight's Chicago Blackhawks/Pittsburgh Penguins game, Deryk Engelland laid a big on Markus Kruger along the boards making contact with the head in the process and causing the "supplemental discipline" phone in the NHL offices to start lighting up:
Engelland was given a fighting major and nothing else, while John Scott racked up 17 penalty minutes with a major, two minutes for instigating and a game misconduct after coming in and dropping the gloves with the Penguins defenseman. Kruger played the rest of the first period.
There are three things to consider trying to determine whether or not discipline is coming for Engelland:
• Engelland leaves his feet while delivering the blow. That's a no-no.
• Kruger's head in the principle point of contact. That, too, is a no-no.
• Kruger was leaning forward a little as Engelland laid the hit, but as Shanahan makes a note to point out in each of his videos, there was no late or sudden movement of his head just before contact. That spells a hearing coming for Engelland.
To make matters worse for the Blackhawks, Chris Kunitz scored on the ensuing power play to give the Penguins 1-0 lead. Expect some stories out of Chicago tomorrow regarding the absurdity of the instigator penalty.
Engelland has a clean history in the NHL, and couple that with no apparent injury (UPDATE: Kruger will not return to the game according to the Blackhawks) on the play and we'll say he sits for two games for a first-time offense.