Mark Letestu of the Edmonton Oilers is the latest victim of Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall, who is well-known around the league for his borderline legal body checks.
The hit came mid-way through the first period of a scoreless game between the Oilers and Red Wings when Letestu picked up a loose puck off the boards and began skating up the ice when Kronwall stepped in and leveled Letestu in a massive collision. No penalty was issued to Kronwall for the hit, although Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks received two minutes for roughing in the resulting skirmish.
Kronwall’s hits are often controversial, with players and fans alike claiming that he regularly leaves his feet or hits the opposing player’s head as the initial point of contact. However, he has only been disciplined once for a check. He was suspended for Detroit’s Game 7 matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs last season for “launching into a hit” on Tampa forward Nikita Kucherov. The NHL called out Kronwall for his feet leaving the ice before impact, and for making contact with his forearm and elbow.
On the Letestu hit, Kronwall clearly keeps his elbow and forearm down and primarily makes shoulder-to-shoulder contact, although opponents of Kronwall’s heavy hits will point to his feet potentially leaving the ice right as contact occurs.
Letestu was uninjured on the play and finished out the remainder of the game, which the Red Wings went on to win 4-3 in overtime. Take a look at the video below and let us know what you think about Letestu getting “Kronwalled.”