Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader faces discipline on Toni Lydman hit

Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader is escorted off the ice by a referee after he dropped Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman (not pictured) with an illegal hit on Friday night in Detroit.
(Julian H. Gonzalez / McClatchy-Tribune)

DETROIT — As expected, the Detroit Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader will have a hearing with the league later Sunday, according to the NHL’s department of player safety.

The hearing, scheduled for 4 p.m. EST, comes after Abdelkader’s hit on Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman late in the second period of Game 3 on Saturday. Abdelkader received a five-minute major penalty for charging and an automatic game misconduct at 15:11. A woozy Lydman left the game and did not return.

Anaheim scored 18 seconds into the ensuing power play in what had been a scoreless game and then used the momentum of captain Ryan Getzlaf’s shorthanded goal in the third period to seize a 4-0 victory over the Red Wings in Game 3. The Ducks lead the series, two games to one.


Abdelkader is facing the possibility of a multigame suspension, and if the hit was a game-changer on Saturday, it could greatly change the outlook of the series. He plays on a line with creative offensive forces Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and Detroit Coach Mike Babcock admitted his options are limited on that line if Abdelkader is out.

“We could put [Johan] Franzen there, but [then] we’re kind of a one-line team,” Babcock said. “When you’re like us, when you lose people, it’s a bigger deal.”

Lydman’s status remains unclear. He has been a steadying presence for the Ducks, especially when they were on their heels, as they were killing multiple penalties in the first period on Saturday.

“He’s a solid defenseman,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said after Game 3. “He plays smart, plays the game smart, he doesn’t look too big out there. He’s strong as an ox. We’re hoping that he’s not out too long. I’m not a doctor, I don’t know how long he’s going to be out. I’d like to see him back on the ice tomorrow but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”


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