May 2, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Justin Abdelkader (8) reacts after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Return Of Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader returns to the Red Wings’ line-up in Game Six, after miss the past two games due to his suspension for his check on Toni Lydman.

When Abdelkader was asked about the hit, he said.

“I want to reiterate that there was no intent to injure. I don’t mean to injure anyone, put anyone at harm. I have respect for every one of the players in this league. It’s a privilege that we get to play in the NHL. I play a hard game, I play physical. Things happen really fast out there.”

Without Abdelkader, Mikael Samuelsson was tapped to play next to Datsyuk and Zetterberg and while he did an admirable job, he could not duplicate the success that Abdelkader brought to the line.

Abdelkader brought more to the Wings than most fans could imagine, he  is fifth on the team with 11 shots, with two fewer games played.

And he has not taken the dumb penalties he is know for, like high sticking. He does have 15 PIM, but zero minor penalties.

Abdelkader plays very physical, goes to the front of the net, and has been a solid linemate for Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg on the top line.

“I play a hard game, I play physical. I’m going to still play my physical game, get in on the forecheck, finish checks, but I’ve got to be smart about it.”

He has be smart, but there is no doubt that the Red Wings have missed his physical play the past two games. He will bring a boost of energy, fresh legs, and much needed grit in his return to the line-up.

His return could mean the end of either Todd Bertuzzi‘s or Mikael Samuelsson‘s time on the ice, depending on the health of Daniel Cleary. Cleary injured his shoulder in Game 5 and left the ice, but he returned finished out the game despite the pain.


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Tags: Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg Justin Abdelkader Mikael Samuelsson Pavel Datsyuk Playoffs

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