Penguins' Engelland banned five games for hit to head

Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:59pm EST

Dec 7, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland (5) battle for a puck during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 7, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) and Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland (5) battle for a puck during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden. Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

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(Reuters) - Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland was suspended five games for an illegal hit to the head of Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader, the National Hockey League (NHL) said on Wednesday.

As both players reached for a loose puck late in the first period of Saturday's game, Engelland's shoulder landed high on Abdelkader and was ejected with a match penalty. Abdelkader was helped off the ice and has not played since.

"Engelland tucks his shoulder and drives through Abdelkader recklessly, picking his head and making it the main point of contact," the NHL said in a video on its website.

Engelland, who was also suspended three games in 2011 for an illegal hit to the head, has five points in 27 games this season for the Eastern Conference-leading Penguins.

Abdelkader, who has 13 points in 34 games, practiced with the Red Wings on Wednesday for the first time since his injury.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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