Maple Leafs winger Pierre Engvall will have a hearing with the NHL’s department of player safety on Friday after hitting Los Angeles Kings defenceman Sean Durzi in the head with his stick during Toronto’s 5-0 win on Thursday.
Engvall was assessed a five-minute major penalty for the infraction and was tossed for the remainder of the contest. The incident took place in the third period after the two players went at each other at centre ice after Durzi took exception to a cross-check from the Leafs forward.
After the game, Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe came to his player’s defence.
“You’ve all watched Pierre [Engvall] play for long enough now to know he doesn’t play with an intent to injure.”
Durzi appeared uninjured and stayed in the game. He was, however, booed by the home crowd every time he touched the puck after the altercation with Engvall, which got a laugh from his parents, who were among the 200 friends and family Durzi had in attendance at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. It wasn’t just the fans who let him hear it, as he also had to deal with chirps coming from Maple Leafs agitator Michael Bunting.
The Maple Leafs actually selected Durzi with the 52nd overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The 24-year-old spent the next season in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and Owen Sound Attack.
In January 2019, Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas acquired veteran defenceman Jake Muzzin from Los Angeles. Durzi, Carl Grundstrom and a first-round pick (which became forward Tobias Björnfot) were sent to the Kings in return.
Since joining the Kings, Durzi has carved out a nice role as a regular NHLer, registering 45 points in 89 games over two seasons in Southern California. He signed a two-year, $3.4-million deal with the Kings in September.
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