PITTSBURGH -- In the first period of the Blackhawks' 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins Tuesday, defenseman Deryk Engelland sent rookie center Marcus Kruger crashing hard into the boards with a suspension-worthy hit.
Engelland left his feet and hit Kruger in the head. Kruger took five more shifts after the hit and began the second period on the bench, but he never took the ice and later left.
Coach Joel Quenneville called it a "tough hit, a high hit in a tough area [where Kruger] was in a tough spot." He said Kruger was OK after the game, but that he will be re-evaluated Wednesday in Chicago.
Here's a video of the hit:
Hawks enforcer John Scott fought Engelland seconds later and left him with a bloody face. Engelland was not penalized for his hit on Kruger, but Scott received the extra instigator penalty. Chris Kunitz scored for the Penguins on the ensuing power play.
"To be short-handed on a play like that, it was a tough turn of events at the end of the night," Quenneville said. "They scored the first goal on the [power] play. They got a lot of momentum there."
Quenneville said Scott "absolutely" did the right thing in that situation.
"I kind of gave him a forearm to the head," Scott said. "I'm always going to stand up for my teammates. I'm going to do that every time no matter who it is. It's just one of those things where I think anybody else on this team would have done the same thing."
Was Scott surprised the Engelland wasn't penalized at all?
"A little bit, yeah," Quenneville said. "He jumped a little bit and hit him in the head."
Scott received five minutes for fighting, two for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct.
"Two, five and a 10 is little harsh, but I guess they're trying to protect guys from getting jumped," Scott said. "It's a rule. I instigated the fight, so I guess I have to pay the price."
Engelland, though, seemed ready to fight immediately after the hit.
"I think he knew there was going to be a fight," Scott said. "We dropped the gloves at the same time and he kind of knew something was happening. He's a fighter. He knows what's going to happen. He kind of wanted to get inside on me. I have a long reach and he didn't want me to string him out, I guess."
(Image source: Associated Press)