DETROIT — A day after he was disciplined for what the NHL department of safety labeled a “vicious check,” Detroit Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader admitted that he’d lost sleep over the incident.
“I haven’t slept too good,” Abdelkader said Monday. “Last night, and kind of thinking about it the night before, it’s going to be tough. You want to be out there helping your team out and doing whatever you can to get the wins.”
Instead, Abdelkader sat out Monday’s Game 4 against the Anaheim Ducks and will sit out Wednesday’s Game 5 in Anaheim, Calif., as part of an NHL-issued two-game suspension as a result of his check on Anaheim defenseman Toni Lydman in the second period of Saturday’s 4-0 loss.
Abdelkader spoke with the media before Game 4 of a Western Conference quarterfinal series at Joe Louis Arena; he was not available Saturday after Game 3 or Sunday after the Red Wings’ skate.
The NHL announced the suspension Sunday night, after Abdelkader had a phone hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety.
Abdelkader did not discuss what was said with Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety and hockey operations, during the phone hearing.
“Both parties had their say and made their statements,” Abdelkader said. “I’ll leave it at that.”
Sheldon Souray, who was scratched from Game 3, replaced Lydman in the lineup for Game 4. The Ducks, via the team Twitter account, said Monday that Lydman continues to suffer from headaches and a sore neck.
Abdelkader called the hit “an unfortunate play” and said that on the play, in which he collided with Lydman near the corner of the rink, he was trying to go for the body on the check.
“There was no intent to injure,” Abdelkader said. “I don’t mean to injure, to put anyone at harm. I have respect for every one of the players in this hockey league.
“I play a hard game, I play physical. It’s a hard game. Things happen really fast out there.”
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock gave a curt response when asked about Abdelkader’s suspension.
“Let’s move on,” Babcock said.
But he believes his team will regroup in the wake of losing Abdelkader, who brought a physical presence to Detroit’s top line with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
“Part of playoff hockey is that you lose guys along the way,” Babcock said. “But you just keep playing.”
GOING OUTSIDE: The NHL announced Monday that the Ducks will play in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. The Ducks will face the Los Angeles Kings on Jan 25, 2014, at Dodger Stadium
The Ducks-Kings outdoor game will be the first California outdoor game, the first NHL outdoor game played west of the Mississippi River, and the southernmost outdoor game in NHL history.
In addition to Anaheim and Los Angeles, the Red Wings face Toronto in the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2014, at Michigan Stadium and Chicago faces Pittsburgh in the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series on March 1 at Soldier Field in Chicago. The NHL will announce three more outdoor game dates as part of its Stadium Series.
THE YOUNGER BABCOCK: CollegeHockeyNews.com reported that Michael Babcock, the son of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, has verbally committed to play hockey at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
Michael Babcock is a senior forward at Detroit Catholic Central High School and scored 10 goals and 32 assists in 30 games this last season in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League.