Any time that suspensions are levied in the NHL regular season the impact is usually suspect, but when players in the playoffs begin missing games it’s a totally different story. For example, the hit that Justin Abdelkader put on Toni Lydman on Saturday will completely change the landscape of the seven game series.
On the one side, Abdelkader has been suspended for two games due to charging, and the Detroit Red Wings will be without their 25-year-old right winger — Abdelkader was fifth on the team with 10 regular season goals. His status is determined as out for the next two games, but the player who he hit, Lydman, could miss more time than that. Lydman is one of the Anaheim Ducks‘ best defenseman, so without his presence someone else will surely have to step up on that side of the ice.
After game three when the hit was made, Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock was sure that Abdelkader would not be suspended saying, “[H]oly mackerel, I don’t know what you’re going to be suspended for.” Babcock had to be rudely awakened when the suspension news broke as the coach now has a short turn around to find someone to take the Detroit’s open spot.
Lydman reportedly had an intense migraine after the hit, and the Ducks coach has listed the defenseman as questionable for the next game. Keeping an eye on both Lydman and the Red Wings’ offense is crucial because without Abdelkader’s hit neither of the two sides would be so depleted.
Abdelkader is under contract until the end of the 2015-16 campaign, so I’m sure this type of hit is not going over well with the Detroit brass.