-If you didn't see it, Shawn Thornton was suspended for 15 games.
-Dan Bylsma addressed the suspension:
-UPDATE: Kris Letang is out due to an undisclosed injury. Brian Dumoulin is in.
-The Penguins limp into another game against another beat-up opponent. The Red Wings are missing some pretty important players. Like Monday's game against the Blue Jackets, there's a lot of money not playing in the lineup. Here are the salary cap hits of players not playing tonight due to injury or in one case, a suspension:
Player, position (Cap hit)
Player, position (Cap hit)
|James Neal, LW ($5 million)||Henrik Zetterberg, LW ($6.7 million)|
|Paul Martin, D ($5 million)||Jimmy Howard, G ($5,291,667)|
|Brooks Orpik, D ($3.75 million)||Stephen Weiss, C ($4.9 million)|
|Kris Letang, D ($3.5 million)||Darren Helm, C ($2.125)|
|Rob Scuderi, D ($3.375 million)||Danny DeKeyser ($925,000)|
|Tomas Vokoun, G ($2 million)|
|Tanner Glass, LW ($1.1)|
|Beau Bennett, RW ($900,000)|
|Andrew Ebbett, LW ($55,000)|
|Totals ($25.175 million)||Totals ($19,941,667 million)|
-The Penguins will face Jonas Gustavsson in net tonight with Howard injured. After several years of inconsistency and injuries, Gustavsson has seemed to finally find some success in Detroit this season.
-The Penguins had some troubles around their own net on both New Jersey goals last night. Things don't get easier tonight with the likes of Justin Abdelkader, Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. The Red Wings, for all their celebrated skill, are still a team which plays tough in front of the opponent's net. The likes of Robert Bortuzzo, Simon Despres and others will need to step up tonight.
-Dumoulin will be the fifth Maine-born player in NHL history. He joins Danny Bolduc, Jon DiSalvatore, Doug Friedman, Jeff Libby and Greg Moore. Eric Weinrich was born in Virginia but was raised in Maine.
-The Penguins' starters are Jussi Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin, Jayson Megna, Olli Maatta, Matt Niskanen and Jeff Zatkoff.
-Their scratches are Kris Letang and James Neal.
-The Red Wings' starters are Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Gustav Nysquist, Kyle Quincey, Brendan Smith and Jonas Gustavsson.
-Their scratches are Darren Helm, Jimmy Howard and Mikael Samuelsson.
18:51: Jonathan Ericsson chops a slapper from the right point. Fleury gets a piece of it.
18:19: Off a turnover in his own zone by Pavel Datsyuk, Despres fires a slapper from the left point. Gustavsson fights it off. Crosby is there for the rebound but pokes it wide.
17:23: The Red Wings will get the first power play of the game as Chuck Kobasew chips a puck out of play from his own zone. That's delay of game. Brandon Sutter, Craig Adams, Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta take the ice.
16:03 Tomas Tatar flings a wrister from the right half wall. Zatkoff fights it off despite a great screen by Dan Cleary.
15:23: The Detroit power play is killed with little trouble.
14:40: After Gustavsson and Ericsson fumble a pass behind their own net, Malkin and Megna each have a chance in tight but can't bury a shot.
14:31: Engelland wires a slapper from the right point. Gustavsson gloves it.
14:11: A one-timer by Maatta from the right point is blocked by Datsyuk.
13:51: The Red Wings take the first lead. Taking a pass at the center point, Niklas Kronwall whips a wrister which glances off the stick of Crosby and hops in on Howard like a ground ball by a middle infielder. That's a tough one for Zatkoff to deal with. Abdelkader and Daniel Alfredsson get assists. Red Wings 1-0.
11:37: Niskanen drives a big slapper from the right point. Gustavsson fights it off despite traffic.
11:29: Bertuzzi is nabbed for hooking Jokinen. Crosby, Kunitz, Niskanen, Kunitz and Jokinen take the ice.
10:52: The Penguins go to the net and get a dirty goal. Crosby lenas down and whips aone-timer which hits a body in front. Kunitz battles for the rebound. The puck trickles in the blue paint and Crosby is able to clean up the garbage. Malkin and Kunitz get assists. Penguins 1, Red Wings 1.
10:07: A slapper by Despres from center point hits a body in front.
8:23: Kobasew hustles up the right wing and draws a penalty. He works his way towards the net, gets hooked up and takes a tumble. Kronwall is nabbed for hooking. Niskanen, Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz and Jokinen take the ice.
8:06: A slapper by Niskanen from the left point is fought off by Gustavsson.
7:50: Niskanen leans down and relases a wrister from the left circle wide of the cage.
7:10: Another dirty goal by the Penguins. Jokinen controls a puck down low to the right of the cage. He forces a bad cross-ice pass to Kunitz but the puck hits of the skate of Lashoff and hops to Malkin in the slot. Malkin whips the puck into the open cage by the blocker of Gustavsson. It's Malkin's 600th career point. Jokinen gets the only assist.
6:46: After Datsyuk strips Despres of the puck behind the Penguins' cage, Abdelkader has a chance in the slot but whips a shot wide.
5:56: A wrister by Sill is blocked by Smith.
1:21: After a few stagnant minutes, Alfredsson lifts a wrister from the right win. Zatkoff gloves it.
1:02: After Crosby forces a turnover by Datsyuk along the end boards, Despres has a chance in right but puts a backhander wide of the cage.
0:29: Battling for a puck in the neutral zone, Abdelkader leans down and forward to swat the puck to the Penguins' zone. ENgelland pokes his stick towards the puck and misses. He then follows through with a hit which appeared to catch Abdelkader's jaw. Abdelkader is in quite a bit of distress and needs assistance in getting to the dressing room. Engelland is sent to the dressing room with a match penalty. That will earn him an automatic suspension pending a review from the NHL. The Penguins will need to kill off a five minute major. Kobasew will serve the penalty. Crosby, Adams, Niskanen and Maatta take the ice.
0:06: A slapper by Alfredsson is fought off by Zatkoff.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Red Wings 1.
-It's difficult to imagine Engelland not being suspended after that hit especially when you consider he does have a history. He was suspended three games in 2011 for a high hit on Blackhawks forward Marcus Kruger in December of 2011:
-That was a play which happened really quickly so it's difficult to fault Engelland too much but he clearly made contact with Abdelkader's head. He deserves a suspension.
-In addition to potentially being suspended, Engelland has put his team in a bad spot with a five minute major against a dangerous, skilled team.
-The Penguins' special teams have been outstanding thus far. Both of their goals have been on the power play and they killed off the one complete Detroit power play they have faced.
-Zatkoff has been solid thus far. The goal he did allow came off fluky hop from Crosby's stick.
-The Red Wings have a 12-9 lead in shots on net.
-The Red Wings have a 17-16 edge in attempted shots.
-Niskanen and Alfredsson each lead the game with three shots.
-Niskanen leads the game with 9:03 of ice time.
-Kronwall leads the Red Wings with 7:10.
-The Penguins have an 8-7 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Crosby is 5 for 3 (63 percent).
-Datsyuk is 4 for 7 (57 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
20:00: The Red Wings will have 4:30 of power-play time on fresh ice. Maatta, Niskanen Sill and Adams take the ice.
18:48: A slapper by Kronwall from the center point is blocked by Sill who is hobbled a bit.
18:33: Nyquist races into the offensive zone, gets a step on Maatta and attacks the net from the left wing. His forehand shot is smothered by Zatkoff who freezes play and the Red Wings crash the net.
18:07: A slapper by Kindl from the center point is fought off by Zatkoff.
17:50: Kindl cranks a one-timer from the left point. Zatkoff eats it up despite traffic.
17:36: Adams races up the right wing short-handed and whips a wrister high of the cage.
16:46: Kronwall sails a wrister from the left point which hits a body in front.
16:21: Kindl races up the right wing and sails a wrister from the right circle juuuussst wide to the far side.
15:50: Nyquist rips a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff fights it off. Tatar has a chance to the right of the cage but can't get a clean stick on it.
15:30: The Penguins kill off the rest of the major. What an effort by the penalty kill unit.
13:38: An update on Abdelkader:
Wings said Abdelkader won't return to the game, no surprise.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) December 15, 2013
11:09: Stealing a puck in the neutral zone Sutter chips a wirste rform the right wing on net. Gustavsson fights it off.
10:18: Maatta whistles a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
9:31: Nyquist pushes the puck up the right wing and tries to cut inside Bortuzzo in the right circle. Bortuzzo keeps with Nyquist and slams him with a check and sends him sprawling backwards right into Malkin. Malkin hits the ice hard and is slow to recover to his skate.s he eventually gets up and lumbers to the bench in discomfort. He heads down the runway to the dressing room.
8:01: A wrister by Alfredsson in tight in the right circle is rejected by Zatkoff.
6:49: Patrick Eaves races up the right wing and lifts a wrister on net which Zatkoff fights off.
4:42: Malkin returns to the bench according to Root Sports broadcasters.
4:33: A wrister by Tatar in the slot is blocked.
3:58: Datsyuk rips a wrister from the slot but has his stick broken by Adams. That's two minutes for slashing. Sill, Dupuis, Bortuzzo and Maatta take the ice.
3:33: Dupuis whips a quick wrister from the left circle which Gustavsson fights off.
2:52: A one-timer from the left circle by Eaves is kicked out by Zatkoff.
1:58: The Adams minor is killed. The Penguins limited the Red Wings' looks at the net during that chance.
1:21: Joakim Andersson banks a puck off the end boards, collects his own bank and chips a shot on net from the right circle. Zatkoff fights it off. That was a sneaky play by Andersson.
0:47: Somehow, the Penguins increase their lead. Taking a pass at the left point, Maatta tees up a slapper which Gustavsson has trouble with the puck squirts loose behind him. Crosby is battling for position with Drew Miller and seems to force Miller into accidentally kicking the puck into his own cage. Kunitz gets credit for the goal while Maatta and Malkin get assists. Penguins 3-1.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 3, Red Wings 1.
-What more do you say about the Penguins' special teams. They have carried this team tonight.
-The Penguins' remaining blue liners have come through with a gutsy effort in the wake of Engelland's match penalty and the absence of Letang.
-We can't say we've noticed Dumoulin a great deal but that's probably a good thing. He skates well for a big body (6-foot-4, 219 pounds).
-Zatkoff was huge that period. he made most of the saves seem easy and kicked out safe rebounds.
-Gustavsson has been really shaky tonight. He has not given his team much help.
-The Red Wings have a 26-13 lead in shots on net.
-The Red Wings have a 43-24 lead in attempted shots.
-Alfredsson leads the game with four shots.
-Niskanen and Kunitz each lead the Penguins with three shots.
-The Red Wings have a 15-13 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Crosby is 8 for 12 (67 percent).
-Datsyuk is 8 for 14 (57 percent).
-Niskanen and Sill each lead the game with two blocked shots.
18:42: Alfredsson rips a wrister from the right circle wide on the near side.
18:17: Crosby chops down on a puck battle in the Penguins' left wing corner and ends up clipping Bortuzzo in the face. Somewhow, Miller is given a high sticking minor. What an awful call. Niskanen, Malkin, Crosby, Jokinen and Malkin take the ice.
17:44: A one-timer by Niskanen from the left circle is fought off by Gustavsson.
17:41: Malkin is injured again. Luke Glendening races up the right wing shorthanded and attacks the net. Malkin tries to tie him up and crashes into the end boards while nearly doing a split. He lays on the ice in pain. Athletic trainer Chris Stewart attends to him. Malkin tries to get up and skate away and collapses in pain. He eventually gets to one skate and leaves the ice with help from Kunitz and Jokinen. He isn't putting any weigh ton his left leg. This looks bad. To make matters worse Malkin is called for holding. We'll have four-on-four for 1:24. Megna will serve the minor.
16:17: The Miller minor is killed. The Red Wings will have 36 seconds of power play time.
15:27: Exiting the penalty box, Megna races up the right wing and lifts a wrister off the near post.
15:03: A wrister by Tatar from the slot if wide to the far side.
14:47: A one-timer by Ericsson is foguht off by Zatkoff.
14:22: Taking a pass in the left circle, Miller spins a wrister by a kneeling Maatta and behind Zatkoff. It appears to hit off the far post. Despres skates the rebound out of danger.
13:33: Bortuzzo strokes a slapper from above the left circle. Gustavsson eats it up.
10:50: Tatar chips a little shot from the left circle which Zatkoff fights off.
8:55: Nyquist pushes the puck up ice one-on-one with Dumoulin down the slot. Dumoulin stands his ground and forces Nyquist to lose the puck. Zatkoff smothers it to freeze play.
7:57: In deep on the left wing, Despres pumps a slapper on net. Gustavsson fights it off.
7:45: Bertuzzi directs a shot/pass from the right wing to Alfredsson cutting through the slot. Alfredsson re-directs the puck wide to the far side.
6:29: Off a nifty pass out of the defensive zone by Dumoulin, Jokinen puts a wrister on net from the right which Gustavsson steers away.
6:03: A wrister by Kindl in the left circle is blocked wide.
5:50: Deep on the right wing, the great Joe Vitale lifts a wrister on net. Gustavsson eats it up.
5:27: Game. Set. Match. Conner chips and chases a puck up the left wing wall and is bodied off the puck by Ericsson. The great Joe Vitale settles the puck and deals a pass to Crosby trailing down the slot. Crosby leans down and swats a one-timer behind Gustavsson to secure the win. Penguins 4-1.
4:00: A wrister by Sill in the slot is blocked wide by Brian Lashoff.
3:00: Kunitz is called for tipping Kindl in the Detroit zone. Sutter, Dupuis, Maatta and Dumoulin take the ice.
1:00: The Kunitz minor is killed. The Red Wings posed little threat with that chance.
0:34: Eaves slams Sutter to the ice in the left wing corner of the Detroit zone. That's two minutes for roughing. Niskanen, Jokinen, Dumoulin, Crosby and Sill take the ice.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Red Wings 1.
-Aside from the Shawn Thornton suspension, a potential suspension for Deryk Engelland and presumed injuries to Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang, this was a pretty slow day for Penguins news.
-First things, regarding Evgeni Malkin and Justin Abdelkader:
Bylsma said Letang has upper-body injury, Malkin lower-body injury. Both to be tested tomorrow. Malkin is limping now, FWIW.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) December 15, 2013
-As far as Justin Abdelkader:
Babcock said he has no update on Abdelkader. He is going through the concussion protocol. Won't play tomorrow.— Ansar Khan (@AnsarKhanMLive) December 15, 2013
-If you didn't see Engelland's hit against Justin Abdekader, here it is:
-This play is similar to the hit this past week by Senators defenseman Jared Cowen against Sabres forward Zemgus Girgensons which netted Cowen a two-game suspension:
-In each case, the victim was leaning down and was struck in the head by a shoulder from the hitter.
-A few readers via Twitter thought tonight's hit was similar to a 2012 hit by Stars forward Eric Nystrom on Kris Letang which avoided a supplemental discipline:
-The big difference in this hit to Engelland-Abdelkader is that Letang made a sudden move at the last second. Nystrom could not be expected to adjust his pursuit of Letang to avoid contact with the head. The NHL considers any late movements by the victim when considering supplemental discipline. Based on the replays we had available to us.
-Assuming Abdelkader has suffered some sort of significant injury and considering Engelland's history as we outlined in the first intermission, something along the lines of a five-game suspension would be appropriate.
-Engelland addressed the hit with media in Detroit after the game. Via audio provided by the team:
On the play:
"There’s a loose puck in the neutral zone. I tried to go stick on puck. He dumps it in. I tried to finish my check. I’m obviously not trying to hit him in the head or anything like that but I catch his chin a little bit before his body. Hopefully he’s alright. No intentions there hurt anyone or anything like that."
Does he expected discipline?
"Yeah. Just kind of wait. I don’t know what … I don’t really watch it too close anything like that. But we’ll see what they do."
On the play again:
"It’s quick play. It’s part of my game to play physical. I’m not trying to target anyone’s head or anything like that. Whatever they do is … you know … I’ve got to deal with it."
-Update: The NHL makes it official:
Deryk Engelland will have an in-person hearing on Wednesday for an illegal check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) December 15, 2013
-An in-person hearing will give the NHL the option of suspending six games or more.
-Oh by the way, there was a hockey game too. In that game. the Penguins came through with a gusty character victory. Playing without their top four defensemen and most of the game without Engelland, the Penguins had to rely on a very, very green blue line (if that make sense). Look at these ice times on defense:
|Player||Time on ice|
-When you read those ice time, keep in mind:
-Niskanen was close to being traded in the preseason due to salary cap concerns.
-Maatta, 19, is still eligible to play junior hockey.
-Bortuzzo was a healthy scratch much of the past month.
-Despres and Dumoulin, who was only playing his first NHL game, were each in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton a month ago.
-And these were just big ice time totals. All five of these players came through with some quality minutes in tough situations, especially on the penalty kill. Tonight's game was a testament to how this organization drafts and develops defensemen.
-Another person who stepped up was Jeff Zatkoff. He came through with the best effort of his young NHL career thus far. He has steadily improved after a rough start to the season. He saw a lot of pucks and made plenty of saves on the penalty kill as well. Zatkoff has slowly quieted a lot of his critics as of late.
-Once again, the special teams were huge for this team. The Penguins killed off a five power plays by the Red Wings including a five-minute major which was primarily played on fresh ice at the start of the second period. Considering they did it without Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Letang is even more impressive.
-The power play did it's job as well as it went 2 for 4. Getting two goals in the first period and getting an early lead made life easier for a lineup which lost Engelland and Malkin as the night wore on.
-We're not sure we saw the Red Wings' best effort. Yes, they are injured but injuries shouldn't be an excuse, especially considering the lineup the Penguins had. The Red Wings just seemed to be missing a gear tonight.
-Jonas Gustavsson was pretty bad. He fought the puck all night long. He did little to give his team a chance.
-The Red Wings led in shots on net, 29-25.
-The Red Wings led in attempted shots, 57-37.
-Niskanen and Alfredsson each led the game with four shots.
-Niskanen led the game with 29:06 of ice time.
-Pavel Datsyuk led the Red Wings with 21:55.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 23-22 (51 percent).
-Sidney Crosby was 11 for 19 (58 percent).
-Datsyuk was 10 for 17 (59 percent).
-Niskanen led the game with three blocked shots.
-Brendan Smith led the Red Wings with two blocked shots.
-Malkin's three points gave him 601 in his career.