Abdelkader gets two-game suspension

DETROIT — Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader’s season could be over.

The NHL suspended Abdelkader two games for his hit on Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman during the second period of Saturday’s Game 3. Abdelkader received a five-minute charging major and a game misconduct.

In a video explaining the additional punishment, NHL senior vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan said: “As the video shows, Abdelkader skates a considerable distance and elevates to violently check Lydman, making significant head contact. This is charging. Rule 42, Charging, states in part: ‘Charging shall mean the actions of a player who as a result of distance traveled, shall violently check an opponent in any manner.’

“Abdelkader elevates at contact, turning what could have been a hard, full-body check into a high, violent check with significant contact to the head that caused an injury.”

The Ducks won the game 4-0 and hold a 2-1 lead in the series.

Lydman was at Joe Louis Arena Sunday but didn’t practice with his team because of a migraine and sore neck.

“Toni has headaches,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s got a stiff neck and bright lights are bugging him, so I don’t know when that’s not going to be there.”

Wings general manager Ken Holland responded to the suspension Sunday evening.

“We felt it was a hockey play, a real hard hit where the initial point of contact was shoulder to shoulder,” Holland said. “We disagree with the decision but we respect the decision.”

Holland said either Todd Bertuzzi or Jordin Tootoo would take Abdeklader’s spot in the lineup but the line combinations would be up to coach Mike Babcock.

“Abby’s an important guy on our team, played with Pav (Pavel Datsyuk) and Z (Henrik Zetterberg),” Holland said. “It (his replacement) is a hard decision to make in 20 minutes. We’ll make the decision at the rink (Monday).”

At Sunday afternoon’s optional practice at Joe Louis Arena, both Babcock and Zetterberg said they did not think the hit was suspension-worthy.

Abdelkader has one goal in three playoff games.

“He’s one of the forwards that uses his speed, gets in on the forecheck and gets in there and bangs for us,” Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said before he knew of the suspension. “He’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas in front of the net and create havoc, so it would definitely be a loss for us.”

With the Wings down 2-1 in the series, if the Ducks win the next two games, Abdelkader won’t play again until next season.

Game 4 is Monday night at the Joe.

Watch the below video to hear the NHL’s explanation: