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Kronwall will not be suspended for his monster hit on Voracek

Mar 7, 2012, 11:07 AM EDT

Last night when Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall delivered another his textbook borderline hits to Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek, it fired up the debate yet again as to what should and should not be punishable by the league.

Flyers fans were understandably furious over the hit believing that Kronwall targeted a helpless player while the Wings felt it was an unfortunate but legal play. TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets this morning that Kronwall will not face supplementary discipline from the league for the hit and the reasoning will likely make Flyers fans even more upset.


The explanation is a bit more baffling, all things considered. If the head is the principle point of contact, wouldn’t that make it a violation of Rule 48? Perhaps this is just the league’s way of saying you’d better keep your head up at all times.

If you missed it last night, here’s the hit so you can judge for yourself.

  1. lilgurgi - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    If that’s Rinaldo, Gill, Cooke, etc I guarantee it’s a suspension. How can the head be the primary point of contact and yet be deemed body-on-body check. You can’t have both. This is why no one understands what is/isn’t worthy of suspensions. There is no consistency.

    • 3yardsandacloud - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      It’s not the primary point of contact. Kronwall lines up his body with vorachek’s body. Vorachek dips his head and is leaning forward (meaning his head is lower than if standing upright). Targeting someone’s head is when you’re aiming for the head. It’s sticking your elbow out to catch someone’s chin when they go by.

      This is a big hit, it looks bad, BUT it’s a legal hit. Vorachek has to protect himself better in that situation. This is the NHL. These are professionals. They skate fast and they collide at full speed. Vorachek was clueless that he was going to get hit, which is why it looked so bad. You cannot constantly blame the player delivering the hit; he cannot control the opponents body position.

      If you take this hit out of the NHL, you may as well take them all out. You have to consider what they player with the puck did. If Vorachek was turned towards the boards and Kronwall came down on him and solely hit his head as he went by, then you can call it a head shot. Otherwise, you can’t say the head was targeting simply because the head was involved.

      • lilgurgi - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM

        Did you read the tweet in the article above? “PPOC was head”. The NHL has already acknowledged that the primary point was the head. That is the reason for the inconsistency. That is why fans are up in arms over each suspension/non-suspension. There have been lesser destructive hits this year already that have been resulting in a suspension.

      • ithacamike - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        The top of Kronwall’s back shoulder wallops Voracek’s head. What in your estimation is the “primary” point of contact?

        Nick lined up a player who couldn’t see him coming because he was turned to play the puck along the boards. Was Voracek supposed to not play the puck and let Kronwall have it? What other option did he have there??

      • vicr28 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        @ithacamike – Are you serious? His other option was to KEEP HIS HEAD UP, be aware of Kronwall’s position, play the body, shield the puck, and dish it to support. If Voracek isn’t responsible for watching the ice DIRECTLY in front of him, what IS he responsible for?

      • drdetroit019 - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        To the person who said, “What was Voracek supposed to do?” Keep his head up. I ask What was Kronwall supposed to do? Voracek has his head down, so I bett just let go by me and get a scoring chance. Yeah that will keep him on the ice.

        Voracek is responsible for watching out for Voracek. Kronwall’s job is to separate Voracek from the puck. Job well-done.

    • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:02 PM

      @Lil – your initial blanket comment is unprovable.

      If it warranted a suspension, Shanahan would have suspended him.

      Brutal, but legal hit.

      • scottybcboy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

        The problem, as you can see from the thumbs, is no one knows what is legal and what isn’t.
        Much like the Nystrom on Letang hit this hit IS legal, the question is should it be.
        How much onus is on players to ‘keep their head up’ and how much is on aggressors to ‘not take advantage of a vulnerable opponent’.
        In the summer the league said it was going to put more emphasis on players not taking advantage, obviously that statement has not been followed up on…shame on Shanny.

      • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:26 PM

        I don’t know scotty… I struggle with the same thing in football.

        I understand the principle, but it’s intended to be a fast, strong game.

        How do you teach a guy all his life to skate/run and respond as fast, hard, and as quickly as possible…. but then to STOP suddenly to ask himself and decide…”is that guy in an indefensible position” or “is he looking down”???

        How do you do that? By the time you decide…he’s by you on his way to the net.

      • scottybcboy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:41 PM

        I agree that it is a difficult, if not impossible scenario for the players.
        That is why I want a clear directive from the league. Either the responsibility lies with the hitter or the puck carrier, it has to be black and white otherwise no one, including the players, knows wtf is going to happen after each hit.

  2. odj810 - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    couldn’t agree more, I don’t think this is suspendable. but the nhl started out well at the beginning of the year and have just gotten just as inconsistent as cambell. I have no idea what is an isn’t going to get a player suspended.

    • drewsylvania - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:49 PM

      If I’d said that, the downthumbs would have me out for 4-5 days!

      • 11cups - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        I think you’re already there.

  3. ithacamike - Mar 7, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Sure looks to me like Kronwall targets the head…I mean, when the contact is made Voracek’s head is actually back up. He only had it down for a split-second to corral the puck as it came around the boards. If Voracek had put his head down at the last instant, I’d argue differently, but Kronwall certainly could have avoided the head here.

    If Shanaban think this is a typical body check, he needs his eyes examined. Maybe he should recuse himself when the play in question involves one of his former teams?

    • scottybcboy - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:33 PM

      Kronwall has a habit, or style, of hitting with his back turned….I guess then he can claim he didn’t target the head as he didn’t see where his opponent was.

  4. icelovinbrotha215 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Go to right now and see the still frame. Jake is leaning forward with his head down. He put himself in a vulnerable position. Idk how Kronwall ‘targets the head.’ There isn’t a follow through. He didn’t launch his body. It’s his trademark hit.

    • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:04 PM

      Exactly Iceman…. that’s precisely why he didn’t get suspended.

      Too many folks pontificate here, but misunderstand the spirit of the rule.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Mar 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        That’s all I’m trying to say. I hope Jake is okay and it was tough seeing him get hit but I’m not going to say that Kronwall was head hunting. If Jake had his head up, everyone would be saying how big of a hit it was.

      • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        Agreed, Kronwall is not a Head hunter…

        ….he’s appropriately a HIT Hunter.

        Wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. hockeyflow33 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    The head is the ppoc because of the size disparity. It’s a legal hit but someone on the Flyers needs to step up there

    • lilgurgi - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:08 PM

      You can’t step up if the offending player (the hitter) will not drop the gloves. All that happens is you get a penalty (Rinaldo did on following shift) on top of your player on the ice hurt. This is how the NHL is hurting the game. “Back in the day” (as fans like to say) this was a clean hit on all fronts (even if targeting head), but Scott Stevens who was known for throwing a lot of them would drop the gloves. A player like Kronwall (or a number of other players) will hide behind the ref and/or turtle.

      • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        Wrong… you obviously don’t know Kronwall.

    • freebie717 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      That would make sense if Voracek wasn’t bigger than Kronwall. According to their team websites, Voracek – 6’2″ 214lbs, Kronwall – 6’0″ 190lbs.

    • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      The whole point of ‘stepping up’ in this situation is to bate the other player into getting a fighting minor.

      That’s where Kronwall is typically tough…. and smart. Didn’t take the bate.

      Make no mistake, he throws down when it’s called for, and against bigger players. We’ve all seen it.

      • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:27 PM

        nor the bait….; )

  6. firstandonlywarning - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Sure is a bunch of nancy boy “never played hockey in their lives” types here.

    “I know more than Shanny or Bob McKenzie even though Ive never stepped onto the ice types”

    LMAO @ you types

    Oh what? Shanny and the League are not calling Kronwall? Well that is shocking, oh wait no it isnt, not shocking at all.

    • 11cups - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      You don’t know $h!t because you’re talking out of your assss.

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

        Yup thats why Kronwall never received a phone call from the league over the hit.

        Blah Blah Blah lil know-nothing boy

  7. firstandonlywarning - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Oh ya, it’s 100% Voraceks fault for reaching behind himself and having his head down.
    Lemme guess you “never played befores” take hitting out of hockey right?

    Darwin works his magic in hockey
    Suck it up buttercups

  8. mydadyourmom - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Beauty hit!! Keep your head up next time.

  9. michiganhockey11 - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Hard to say he targeted the head, when the clown with the puck was taking 5-6 strides up ice with his head down. You want to say he made “some” head contact, fine. But targeting the head is when you intentioanlly going out of your way to make contact with the head with your elbow/shoudler. Voracek put his head in front of his body and Kronwall had his chest lined up. What’s Kronwall supposed to do if his target is now being occupied by the puck carriers noggin? Dive out of the way?

    This is the NHL Voracek, you can’t afford to keep your head down like in squirts or pee-wee. Game is too fast for you not to keep your head up.

    • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

      Bingo, just a silly play by V.

      A major part of a defenseman’s job is to cause guys who are handling the puck to pay attention.

      If Kronwall is on the ice, keep your head up, period. He’s doing his job.

  10. drewsylvania - Mar 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    PPOC was the head, but hit is not worthy of suspension. Guy was skating with his head down. If you suspend for that, you’re encouraging players to skate with their heads down. Nobody wants that.

    • michiganhockey11 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Exactly. Thank you for a smart common sense post.

  11. kingjoe1 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    He is a Red Wing; do you think the Wings keep winning for 20 years wihtout favorable reffing?

    • michiganhockey11 - Mar 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      If you are not completely prepared to answer an onslaught of instances where the wings got hosed on calls, you shouldn’t try to make that argument. If you are trying to say that their 4 cups in 11-12 years was based on shady officiating, you are sadly mistaken. Let’s try to keep it on topis, shall we?

      • michiganhockey11 - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM


    • polegojim - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:28 PM

      Why yes King, we do. Evidently we woke you up… Now go back to sleep.

  12. haterzgonahate - Mar 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    perfectly clean hit.. he hardly used his back this time around.

    if you skate up the boards out of your own zone to beak out with your head down looking for the puck.. you deserve to get hammered like that.. it’s been happening for years. see Pat Quinn on Bobby Orr

    stupid hockey play = painful hockey hit

  13. geo91 - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    He’s done it to Havlat, Briere, Tootoo, Kesler, Clowe and Voracek in recent memory with no suspension. This is a textbook huge, clean hit, and really the only thing that remains from the pre-lockout era. Fact of the matter is a player should protect himself. I mean I was told to keep my head up when I was 12 or i was getting smoked. Props to this Swede for playing heavy, hard hockey

  14. stakex - Mar 7, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    There is nothing at all wrong with that hit. Its sad that there was even talk of a suspension from a hit like that.

  15. 0ffsides - Mar 7, 2012 at 7:36 PM


  16. matthewmacisaac - Mar 7, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    As aFlyer fan watching on center ice package I had Detroit’s feed. I can see where they make the point that Jake was leaning forward, but then FSDetroit showed a “Kronwall’s greatest hits” collection and in 3/4 of them he’s leaving his feet, launching into opponents. I have no idea how he wasn’t suspended for some of the others. Rinaldo got suspended for “launching” himself into an opponent. I have a ton of respect for Shanahan, but he needs to be more consistent. Kronwall would have been suspended for being a repeat offender.

    • chibimike - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      Rinaldo was suspended for charging. Kronwall’s hits are never called charging because the two players are always skating directly toward each other. It is not charging when two players are skating directly toward each other. In Rinaldo’s suspension it was called charging because the two players were skating perpendicular to each other and Rinaldo left his feet.

  17. Joe Michaels - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Anyone who thinks that Kronwall’s hit was “dirty” should switch to watching ballet or tennis. When my kid started playing hockey, the first rule was, “The *puck* is first to enter the offensive zone.” The second was, “Keep your head up at all times.”

    Taking this hit out of hockey weakens the sport. The Broadstreet Bullies (and their fans) should know that.

    Ironically, a less-physical game would BENEFIT the Red Wings’ precision/skill style of play. So, be careful what you wish for.

  18. rmfox2 - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    From an interview with Voracek after the game-

    “I think it was clean,” Voracek told “I had my head down. … I saw him standing on the blue line and I was kind of naive and thought he was going to back up. It was a tough hit to take, but I think it was a clean hit from my side.

    “It was my bad, and I think those hits should stay in the game.”

    The fact is that these skaters do make themselves vulnerable by putting their heads down and failing to recognize Kronwall. However, I think what needs to be acknowledged is that Kronwall actually does not take full unnecessary advantage of that vulnerability. Yes, he delivers a big hit but it is not actually nearly as devastating as it could be if rather than turning to his back at the last second (and therefore stopping his drive) he instead chose to keep his legs behind him and drove through the player (a la a linebacker driving through a defenseless receiver.) I think that that is, in part, why the league has not seen fit to punish him for making these legal hard hits.

    • jmizerek - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      ^^^ this. nothing else matters.

  19. hudler26 - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Good hit, saw it live and have to say it’s one of the year’s best. I like the way Kronwall checks. He doesn’t lead with an elbow or shoulder, instead he turns his back and delivers more of a body blow. I also liked that the NHL stated that this was a good hit. I think they have done a really good job at clarifying things this year with public addresses and it seems that players are coming to understand the bounds of the checking game.

    And to Voracek, I have to say… you got Kronwalled!!!

  20. 11cups - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    You can sure tell who the Wing haters on here. How many times has Kronwall been suspended, I forgot…………………….. Nevermind, I just remembered.

  21. daltondee711 - Mar 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM

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