By Allan Muir
No matter what happens in Monday’s Game 4 against the Ducks, the Red Wings know they’ll be flying to Anaheim for Game 5.
What they don’t know is if Justin Abdelkader will be headed to SoCal with them.
After his vicious hit on Anaheim defender Toni Lydman late in the second period of Saturday’s 4-0 win by the Ducks, Abdelkader is about to become the third player to receive a suspension during this postseason
Not a lot of grey area with this jaw-droppingly stupid play. Abdelkader charges in from a distance of about 30 feet, leaps into the air prior to contact, and slams his shoulder directly into Lydman’s head. It’s so clear cut, it’s almost like he was trying out for a part in the next “Don’t Do What Donny Don’t Does” video.
Lydman left the game for evaluation and did not return, so an injury could play into the deliberations of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
Abdelkader was given a five-minute major that ended up being the turning point of the game. Nick Bonino scored on the ensuing power play to break a scoreless tie and set the Ducks off on their romp.
With no way of accurately reading the Department of Player Safety, there’s no telling what sort of supplemental discipline Abdelkader could face. Two games? Three? More? It’s all on the table…which means he could be out for more than just a single trip to Anaheim.