No Suspension for Red Wings’ Kronwall

Niklas Kronwall is well known around the league for some of his crushing hits. Often referred to as being “Kronwalled,” the Red Wings’ defenseman has a lengthy list of victims which includes Martin Havlat, Ryan Kesler, Ales Hemsky, Dany Heatley, and Daniel Briere. Last night, Kronwall destroyed Jakub Voracek, adding another victim to the list.

Immediately following the hit, speculation began as to whether or not Kronwall would be suspended. Many hockey fans made the case against Kronwall, claiming Voracek’s head was not only the principal point of contact, but was targeted by Kronwall as well.

Others, however, saw the hit differently. Instead of Kronwall targeting the head, they simply saw a player skating with his head buried in the ice and then running into a brick wall. Breaking down the video and watching in slow motion reveals a hit that’s hard to argue was illegal. In the screen cap below, you can clearly see Kronwall approaching for a clean hit, arms tucked in and elbows down, while Voracek moves out of the zone with his head down.

Kronwall Destroys Voracek

Fortunately for Kronwall, Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s Director of Player Safety, saw the hit in that exact same manner. Despite Kronwall making direct contact with his shoulder to Voracek’s head, he did not target the head specifically, nor did he leave his feet on the full body collission. Because of this, Shanahan called no hearing for the hit – which means there will be no fine or suspension for the Wings’ defenseman.

Even Voracek’s teammate, and Flyers leading scorer Claude Giroux, felt the hit was clean. In a post-game interview, he called it “a good hit.” He later added “Kronwall is pretty good at those hits.”

Despite Kronwall’s repeated bone crushing hits, and many fans crying out for the Shanaban, Kronwall has yet to be suspended for one of his hits. Unlike some players in today’s NHL, Kronwall knows how to make a good, clean, and hard hit. Chances are, he’s going to continue to do it too. So opponents beware, and for the sake of your fans and teammates, keep your head up!

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