Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NHL [Print without images]

Saturday, December 14, 2013
Updated: December 15, 3:56 AM ET
Deryk Engelland ejected for hit

ESPN.com news services

DETROIT -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland was ejected from their eventual 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings because of an illegal hit to the head.

Engelland could face a suspension as the NHL tries to crack down on blows above the shoulders.

Engelland landed his right shoulder high on Detroit forward Justin Abdelkader late in the first period Saturday night. After Abdelkader struggled to get up and had to be helped off the ice, Engelland was called for a match penalty.

Abdelkader did not return.

"He dumps it in, and I try to finish my check," Engelland said. "Obviously I'm not trying to hit him in the head or anything like that, but I think I catch his chin a little bit before his body."

Detroit defenseman Brendan Smith was suspended for five games two years ago for a similar hit.

"I know what it feels like because I've been in that position," Smith said. "It's a quick game, things happen."

Boston Bruins forward Shawn Thornton was suspended earlier in the day for 15 games by the NHL for punching and injuring Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik.

Thornton went after Orpik during a stoppage in play Dec. 7, knocking him down to the ice and punching him twice. Orpik sustained a concussion and was taken off the ice on a stretcher. He hasn't played since that game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.