Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland was suspended for three games for an illegal hit on Chicago defenseman Marcus Kruger, according to an announcement today by NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan.
Engelland's hit occurred midway through the first period of the Penguins' 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. Kruger played the remainder of the period but later left the game and did not return.
Kruger and Penguins winger Pascal Dupuis were engaged in a struggle for the puck before Engelland charged into Kruger and leveled him into the boards, making contact with his head. Shanahan explained the illegality of the hit in a video released today.
"Although Engelland has Kruger lined up for what could potentially be a clean full body check," Shanahan said, "his elevation and launch upon impact, as well as the way in which Engelland forcefully drives his hands and arms up into the face area, makes this in our eyes a recklessly targeted shot to Kreuger's head."
This is the third season in the NHL for the 29-year-old Engelland, who has no reputation for dirty play and no history of fines or suspensions. The Penguins take on the Winnipeg Jets on the road Friday night.