For the second time in two weeks, a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been handed a five-game suspension from the National Hockey League.
While forward James Neal sits out the last game of his sentence Wednesday night in New York, defenseman Deryk Engelland will be in the press box for the second of what was determined to be a five-game suspension for his check to the head of Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader on Saturday.
As NHL player safety officer Patrick Burke describes in the following video, Engelland got five games because of his head-hunting approach to the open-ice hit, plus his previous suspension for a similar play two years ago:
Engelland received the punishment after an in-person hearing at the league’s New York office Wednesday afternoon. Since the hearing did not occur over the phone, there was a chance Engelland could’ve gotten six or more games, but the Penguins’ trip to the Big Apple made it convenient for player safety chief Brendan Shanahan to deliver his message face to face.
The Penguins and/or Engelland have not commented on the suspension, although there is the option to appeal. Considering that Engelland has already sat out one game and would be available again in nine days, it’s unlikely he will fight the punishment.
In other supplemental discipline news involving the Penguins, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo didn’t receive any punishment for his hard check on Toronto’s Jerry D’Amigo on Monday. D’Amigo was hurt on the play, but the NHL determined he lowered his head into harm’s way too late for Bortuzzo to adjust the point of initial contact.