Niklas Kronwall suspended for Game 7 vs. Tampa Bay
The NHL has decided to suspend Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall for Game 7 of the first round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Department of Player Safety took exception to Kronwall’s hit on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov, which the league felt was suspension worthy based on the level of forced used and “the significant head contact that resulted from Kronwall launching into it.”
The Department feels that a legal hit can include some “unavoidable head contact,” but Kronwall elevated “unacceptably.” In particular, the league noted that Kronwall was airborne at the time of contact.
This is a big blow for the Red Wings as he’s their top defenseman and had been logging a team-high 23:35 minutes per contest. Kronwall, who has not been suspended before, previously stated that he felt the hit was “clean.”
“My only comment is I disagree with the decision,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said in response to the suspension, per ESPN’s Katie Strang.
Kucherov temporarily left the game, but was able to return before its conclusion.
“He made a hit. I’m not going to cry now,” Kucherov said afterwards. “It’s a part of the game. That’s why we play here.”
You can watch the Department of Player Safety’s explanation below:
With Kronwall not available, Babcock will look to either Kindl or Marchenko to help on the blue line.— John Shannon (@JShannonhl) April 28, 2015