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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.”

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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