On Tuesday night against the Blackhawks, Deryk Engelland hit Markus Kruger. Today, Brendan Shanahan suspended Engo for 3 games for the hit seen below:
Engelland was not penalized in the game for the hit, but did incur a 5 minute fighting major when John Scott came to defend his teammate.
Engelland was given 3 games for the following reasons:
Engo has never been suspended or fined before, which is why I am a little shocked that he received 3 games, rather than 1 or 2. However, Engo did have an opportunity to complete this hit cleanly.
The only part of Shanahan’s decision (and overall analysis) that I disagree with is that the injury on the play is taken into consideration. You need to punish the act, not the result. While it is unfortunate that Kruger is out with a concussion, the point of punishing any illegal hit is that a player COULD be injured. You could hit 10 players in the same manner, identical hits, but each hit will not end with the same consequences because each victim’s body will react different to the hit. They may fall differently, they may duck or turn or land differently if they fall or hit against the boards in a different manner. Plus, the person applying the hit depending on their size and force (regardless of the motion used) will alter the end result.
This is the part where I think Shanahan is wrong in his assessment, however, that being said, most of us knew as soon as we saw that hit that Engelland would serve time (and he should). I have no arguments about the suspension because Engelland was wrong in his actions and should be more mindful of his on ice decisions. This was certainly one of those times. But I still think that given Engelland’s clean record prior to, that 3 games is one game too many, especially in the name of consistency (which arguably, there is none).
The other thing that angered me was analysts calling Engo a “dirty player.” Engelland has no prior history of actions like this. He is known for being a bruiser and a fighter, however that is perfectly legal within the sport and is not the same thing as skating around with your elbows up all game long. Alexander Ovechkin is known for leaping at opponents when completing a check, but yet has never been suspended nor called a dirty player. Completely out of line.
The only thing that really hurts the Pens through this suspension is that Engelland will not be available to play in the Penguins’s game against the Flyers on December 29th. That will surely be a physical game. Engo will resume play on December 31st in New Jersey.
Here is Brendan Shanahan’s explanation.