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Deryk Engelland suspended five games for head hit on Wings’ Abdelkader

Harrison Mooney
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It's been a busy week for the NHL's Department of Player Safety. In the last 5 days alone, they's handed out four suspensions -- Shawn Thornton, Corey Potter, David Clarkson, and Deryk Engelland -- for a total of 24 games. And there are more coming.

Engelland accounts for 5 of those games, as the ban hammer came down Wednesday on the Penguins' bruiser for his check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.

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Five games seems reasonable for two reasons.

First, this is a dumb hit. As Patrick Burke explains, "Engelland tucks his shoulder and drives through Abdelkader, recklessly picking his head and making it the main point of contact."

It's entirely on Engelland as well. Abdelkader's only sudden movement during this play is when he pops into the air and hits the ice after Engelland lays into his head.

"From the moment Engelland commits to this check and right through to contact," Burke says, "Abdelkader has been in this position. If Engelland wants to make this check, he has to take a different angle of approach that ensured the head is not picked and made the main point of contact. This is not an otherwise full body check on which head contact is unavoidable."

That'll get you, say, 3 or 4 games for a first-time offender. But Engelland lands on 5 because he has a history, having been suspended 3 games for a head hit back in 2011.

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