There’s a good reason why Justin Abdelkader wasn’t able to engage Lightning forward Brian Boyle at the hostile end of Game 3 of Detroit’s five game opening round against the Tampa Bay Lightning – he was playing with a dislocated left ring finger.
While this simply added to the scorn he earned from Lightning fans and media in addition to his pummeling of Mike Blunden at the end of Game 2, Abdelkader chose not to injure himself further by fighting Boyle. In addition to further potential injury, he would have received a match penalty and be automatically suspended for the next game. His hand was taped and he was seen showing the referee who was standing next to the two players.
“Having your hands taped, you can’t engage in a fight,” he later said. “If something happens and you draw some blood, you’ll get a match penalty.”
Abdelkader injured his finger during Detroit’s 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild on April 1 at Joe Louis Arena.
“I was tied up with (Ryan) Suter in front of the net,” he explained. “I was kind of grabbing his jersey, and all of a sudden my finger dislocated. I took my glove off and my finger was kind of pointing sideways.”
In order to be able to continue to play, the Red Wings training staff decided to cool things down for him.
“We were freezing it (my finger) before games, just because it was so sore,” Abdelkader said. “Rest of the season and playoffs, I had to keep those fingers taped. So I had to stitch my gloves together and put some extra protection in the gloves to protect that finger.”
He anticipates that it will take at least 6-8 weeks for his finger to fully heal. In addition to the finger injury, he also tweaked his knee against the Bruins on April 7, but doesn’t think he’ll need surgery to repair it.