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Abby 'feels good' following concussion

Engelland gets five-game suspension for hit in Red Wings' forward

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 4:25 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Abby \'feels good\' following concussion
Justin Abdelkader's first practice back after his concussion was at Comerica Park Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Four days after sustaining a concussion against Pittsburgh, forward Justin Abdelkader returned to the ice as the Red Wings practiced outdoors at Comerica Park in preparation for next month’s NHL Winter Classic in Ann Arbor.

"I feel good so far,” Abdelkader said. “No contact yet, but working my way back. It's a process and we'll see. As long as I have no setbacks, we'll see what happens. Keep building each day."

The forward had to be helped off the ice late in the first period of Saturday’s game after receiving an illegal hit to the head from defenseman Deryk Engelland. The collision occurred when Abdelkader reached for a loose puck and Engelland lowered his right shoulder and made contact with the left side of Abdelkader’s head.

"He caught me with a shoulder,” Abdelkader said. “I don't think he's trying to hit me in the head at all. He's just trying to take the body there and he got my head. It's an unfortunate play, but I think the league has done a good job of trying to crack down on those hits and they review all those hits."

Engelland was assessed a match penalty for the hit, and the National Hockey League’s department of player safety announced today that the defenseman has been suspended for five games without pay for the hit.

“The first day, two days I still had some headaches, some lingering headaches,” Abdelkader said of the injury. “Everything's been feeling good so far. Today was my first day on the ice and hopefully I can just keep getting better with no setbacks.”

The Muskegon, Michigan native has recorded 13 points in 34 games for the Red Wings this season, and has missed two games due to the injury. Although he participated in all of the team’s skating drills Wednesday, Abdelkader has no timetable for a return as the Red Wings follow the league’s protocol for concussion.

"I have to talk to Piet (Van Zant) still and see, but hopefully soon,” Abdelkader said of the team’s athletic trainer. “Hopefully before break. Not ruling that out yet but we'll see.”

The date of Abdelkader’s return may be uncertain, but his teammates were excited to see him back on the ice.

“It was great,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “It was great to see him out here. I thought he looked great, and it sounds like he's doing pretty good. Of course very, very encouraging to see and hear that.”

While Engelland was reprimanded for his illegal hit on Abdelkader, Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey will not be suspended for boarding Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf late in the first period of Detroit’s 5-2 loss at The Joe on Tuesday. Quincey received a five-minute major penalty and a game-misconduct for the hit.

“Me and Ryan are good friends, so I talked to him after the game,” Quincey said. “I’m just glad he’s OK.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80