The Athletic’s Scott: Abdelkader’s fight stirred up the Islanders on Friday

The Athletic’s Topher Scott looked back at the Red Wings’ 7-6 OT loss against the New York Islanders, examining the reasons why the Red Wings collapsed in the third period. According to Scott, Tyler Bertuzzi’s should’ve-been-a-minor-penalty on Cal Clutterbuck wasn’t the main reason why the Islanders rallied, though the major penalty certainly helped:

Most people would look at Tyler Bertuzzi’s major slash as the penalty that swung the game. But to me it was Justin Abdelkader’s second-period fight with Johnny Boychuk that shifted the entire momentum of the contest.

With only a few minutes left in the second period, the Islanders had nothing going. They had only 11 shots on net, including a measly three in the second period, and Detroit had the game firmly in its grasp. The Red Wings were playing a solid road contest – frustrating the Islanders with simple, boring, defensive hockey.

But as the road team, you never want to poke the bear.

And with just over one minute left in the second period, Abdelkader prompted a fight by slew-footing Boychuk in front of the net, getting the crowd and the Islanders’ bench engaged into the game.

Scott continues (paywall), and here’s the Abdelkader-Boychuk fight:



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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

13 thoughts on “The Athletic’s Scott: Abdelkader’s fight stirred up the Islanders on Friday”

  1. Yes, Abdelkader did slew-foot Boychuk. After Boychuk necessarily interfered with Abby, then later on unnecessarily shoved him to the ice quite dangerously.

    So sure, that could have given the Isles some oomph. I am thinking 5 minutes of PP time with a tired PK unit does a lot more for their victory, though.

  2. Bravo for calling out Abdelkader. Bertuzzi was singled out and then scratched after a fairly innocent slash. I guess he needed to learn a lesson??

    What many forget is what Abby did in the last game against NYI? Anyone remember how he speared Mayfield in the groin? The refs missed it and gave him a minor slashing penalty. The NHL recognized that was a mistake and fined Abby for a dirty spear to the groin.

    Did Abby get scratched the next game? Did he need to learn a lesson? Nope. He played 19 minutes the following night. Abby has stock. Bertuzzi doesn’t. What a meritocracy!

  3. Abdelkader should be held to a higher standard since he has a letter on his sweater, for some reason….oh yeah he’s from Michigan. But he’s allowed to take dumb penalties and not miss a shift. Accountability Blashill Red Wings style.

    1. I’m not even suggesting a higher standard. How about the same standard? Bertuzzi’s slash happens dozens of times every game. It was a totally blown call. Meanwhile, Abby spears a guy in the groin, gets fined by the NHL for it, and is rewarded with 19 minutes of ice time the next game. No accountability. Helm coughs up the puck numerous times that ends up in our net, but when AA or Mantha do that they get benched.

      But nevermind, it’s a learning process. Blashill is hard on the young guys…because the old guys are who they are. Solid logic.

  4. fatty,
    I got to disagree. L’Bert’s slash does not even happen every game let alone dozens of times every game.

    while both infractions you cite are stupid, L’Bert’s is totally a rookie mistake. Neither, are as far as I can tell, related to your conclusion about playing time…..unless you care to expound on that correlation it’s pretty much unrelated.

    Or, are you merely setting up your overall complaint that younger players are not treated equitably to older players? That sounds a little millennial to me and is pretty much ever younger generation response to having to “pay a few dues”…….”but….but….but…’s not fair!”

    1. This isn’t that confusing. Both players made a mistake, a selfish stupid penalty. One of these penalties (ie Abby’s dirty spear) was so bad that the NHL imposed a fine after-the-fact.

      After Bertuzzi’s mistake…he gets scratched the next game…and we hear soundbites about how he has to learn from his mistakes.

      After Abby’s selfish spear…nothing happens. He plays 19 minutes the next night.

      Doesn’t that bother you? Why not scratch Abby after his selfish penalty…that may have sent a message to the rest of the team that selfish stupidity has consequences. In fact, maybe Bertuzzi never commits this penalty had he witnessed the consequences that Abby should have faced?

      1. Fatty,
        The League punished Abby for his infraction (sending a message to the entire league). L’Bert should have learned from that.
        The League did not punish L’Bert for his infraction so the team did. That should send a message to every player on the Wings just as you suggested or maybe it doesn’t. I’m not in control of player discipline nor do I want to be.

        The fact is, Abby was punished (by the League) and L’Bert did not learn from it. In fact, lots of players did not learn from the League punishing Abby. Thus, the team took action with L’Bert. That seems pretty cut and dry and very fair. But, if you want to continue defending your futile point, please go on. It’s a free country.

        1. Haha. The fine was $5,000. That’s like $5 to the average Joe. Imagine being in high school. You scratch dad’s car. He fines you $5. And the next night you take the car out with your buddies like nothing happened. Then your younger brother scratches the car. But he gets banned from driving and misses the big music festival. You know, to teach him a lesson. Real fair.

          1. Don’t forget that the fine = repeat offender record. It’s more than a simple slap on the wrist.

        2. It may be a free country, but I have to be honest–this is a blog run by one person, and I’m a benevolent dictator. If you guys/gals feel that someone is being abusive or inappropriate, please let me know, because now that it’s my blog, it’s my job to police the comments section so that people feel safe commenting. And that’s not a dig on FatSavage, just the way I run things.

  5. “But to me it was Justin Abdelkader’s second-period fight with Johnny Boychuk that shifted the entire momentum of the contest…..Abdelkader prompted a fight by slew-footing Boychuk in front of the net”

    yep, it was Abbys fight that caused detroit’s defensive meltdown during that PP. Of course, in L’Bert’s defense, his penalty did not cause Detroit to play poorly on the PP either.

    While yes, a fight lights up the crowd and the players it happened nearly 30 (plus) minutes before L’Bert’s penalty. Sorry Scott, that’s a pretty huge stretch…but thanks for hunting around for as excuse for poor, tired defense.

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