Niklas Kronwall will sit for Game 7.
The Detroit Red Wings won’t have their bruising blueliner in the lineup for the series-deciding game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. Kronwall has been suspended one game for charging.
The hit happened late in the second period. Kronwall appeared to leave his feet, driving his forearm into Kucherov’s head. Kucherov left the ice briefly after the hit, but later returned; he finished the game with three assists. He’s expected to be in the lineup for the Lightning for Game 7.
Referees Dave Jackson and Steve Kozari did not call a penalty on Kronwall for the high hit.
Cooper said he didn't see Kronwall hit. "The refs didn't call a penalty, so it must have been OK."
— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) April 28, 2015
“He made a hit,” Kucherov said. “I’m not going to cry now. It’s a part of the game.”
“I haven’t seen it in replay so I can’t really say too much about it,” said Kronwall. “I thought it was a clean hit at the time.” When asked if he left his feet during the hit, he admitted, “Yeah, usually when you go, the impact itself carries you up.”
Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg defended his teammate. “When I saw it, it was a clean, hard hit,” said Zetterberg. “He had good timing there and I don’t think [Kucherov] saw it.”
Former NHL referee Paul Stewart weighed in on the hit over at HockeyBuzz:
In terms of supplementary discipline, the principle point of contact from the hit was Kucherov’s head — something we all want to see eliminated from the game — and this is what puts the hit into the gray area of a potentially suspension-worthy offense in today’s game.
It is still reviewable based on being a head shot, with replays on whether it can be categorized as charging (a decision needs to be rendered on whether Kronwall left his feet to deliver the hit).
If it were my decision to make, Kronwall would sit for Game Seven because it was a gratuitous head-shot with the puck already gone.
It looks like the league agrees with Stewie. Now it remains to be seen whether the Red Wings will be able to carry on and give Kronwall a chance to continue on in the playoffs.