There are a few things that I can take away from this week. First, I shouldn’t suggest the Bruins should try to trade for a problem child (Nail Yakupov) so soon after getting rid of one (Tyler Seguin). Second, that in an attempt to take fighting out of hockey, the league is alienating its fan base while trying to appeal to the ‘casual connoisseurs’. Finally, Brendan Shanahan is going to need to have a cot moved into his office to handle all the fines, penalties and suspensions he’ll be handing out over the next few days.
During last nights’ Red Wings-Avalanche game, Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall was the victim of a nasty check from behind from Colorado’s Cody McLeod . Kronwall won a puck race in his defensive zone. After getting the puck, Kronwall attempted to turn around and move it up the ice only to be obliterated by McLeod. As the video here shows, he is slammed face first into the wall. The Red Wings toughed out the loss and gave the Avalanche its first loss of the season, beating them 4-2.
The hit is all too similar to Maxim Lapierre’s hit on Dan Boyle. The only difference is the amount of restraint shown by the Detroit Red Wings players after the hit. (My respect for that team just went up a few notches.) In the span of three days, an ambulance has been needed to get two separate players off the ice due to dirty hits on players that shouldn’t have gotten them.
At present, there is no word on Kronwell’s condition. This was a stupid and dangerous play, and McLeod should have known better. He was tossed from the game for his hit. Will there be a suspension? Most definitely. How long? Only the Hockey Gods know. The only thing going for McLeod at the moment is that he is not listed as a ‘repeat offender’.
The National Hockey League and the players union have made aggressive strides to protect the players that play the game. A lot now falls on the shoulders of Brendan Shanahan. He has to set a clear and more importantly, a consistent level of supplementary discipline. If he’s going to regain any of the lost ground this season, he’s going to need to come down on these two offenders like a ton of bricks. There are already enough players like Matt Cooke on the ice. The NHL certainly doesn’t need anymore.