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Video: ‘These hits…we’ve got to get out of the game,’ says Red Wings coach

Oct 18, 2013, 1:38 AM EDT

It’s another incident that will likely require further discipline handed down from NHL senior vice-president of player safety Brendan Shanahan.

Early in the first period of Thursday’s game between Colorado and Detroit, Avalanche forward Cody McLeod drove Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall from behind, face first into the boards.

Kronwall lay motionless for a short time, before getting stretchered off the ice.

“Tough situation for him, anytime you get hit like that, you’re out cold,” Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press. “You’re scared to say the least.

“These hits are things we’ve got to get out of the game.”

McLeod was given a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. The Red Wings updated Kronwall’s condition later in the first period, saying via Twitter that the blue liner had a concussion and cuts to his ear, but was moving all his extremities.

Added Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson: “He was out, he didn’t really know what happened there.

“He was out of it for a little bit. Then he was asking some questions. It was a little scary but we found out early he was fine and he was going to recover fine.”

  1. hockeyflow33 - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Congrats to the announcer for running down the guy laying motionless on the ice.

    • hubeydubeydoo11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:05 AM

      Thats a hit that shouldnt have been even debatable about taking…numbers were there then entire way…those announcers are being jack a$$es…kronners hits but they arent dirty and he doestn deserve that when on the ice like that. Mac may be the same way as kronners and this was just a freak accident in his career, i wouldnt know i havent seen him play much, but that hit makes me cringe every time

      • jeffchadwick - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        I love how the discussion on the Avs broadcast continues about Kronwall making a living with hard hits for a solid two minutes after McLeod smashes his face into the boards, like having the ability to dish out a hard hit makes it ok to rearrange one’s face.

    • matt14gg - Oct 19, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      You’re absolutely right and this is a big problem in the league. Every announcer talks about cleaning up the game until one of their guys does it. Then it’s nothing but an excuse making exercise. We all know why they do it. They are paid by the team to say nice things about the players, but this is where people around the game need to respect the game more than they need to worry about their paycheck.

      This is an easy hit to avoid. You can still “finish your check”, but you need to drive to the center of the player’s body and not the head. McLeod’s job is to pin the player to the boards and compete for the puck. That can easily be done, but instead he drives his forearm and his full weight into Kronwall’s head. This goes back to something very fundamental in hockey today. GUYS DON’T KNOW HOW TO CHECK PROPERLY!!!

      IN USA Hockey you are not allowed to check until Bantams (it was Pee Wees until 2 years ago). Not sure what it is in Canada, but the point is kids never learn to check until they are so big that the checks they deliver can really hurt someone. It used to be that you could check right from Mites (Atoms in Canada), and at that age you couldn’t get hurt because the kids are so small that the contact was minimal. Now kids who have never checked before are unleashed as Bantams (some of these kids are huge), having never been taught to check properly, to run around and destroy guys. Yes there are “checking clinics” but they are often taught by coaches who are often just parents who don’t know what the hell they are doing. USA Hockey believes it has made the game safer, when in fact it has made the game more dangerous. We now have generations of hockey players who were never taught to check properly who have grown into men who run around headhunting guys. This hit was a perfect example.

      It would be great to hear the home announcers rip McLeod for such an obvious dirty hit, but they know who pays them and they aren’t going to do it.

  2. pxland - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    As an Avalanche fan I agree with Babcock. The hit was unnecessary and unfortunate and Cody Mac will deserve whatever penalty is handed down by DoPS.

    Having said that, McLeod is not a dirty player. He’s tough, and other teams may hate him, but until now I’ve never seen him do anything like this.

  3. blomfeld - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    BLINDED BY SCIENCE ?

    Today’s NHL rink dimensions were devised in 1865 (Montreal) and yet contemporary players are literally ‘twice’ the size, speed and strength of those who played the game way back then, when Robert E Lee made that ‘heart-broken’ ride up to the courthouse at Appomattox. The bottom line friends is that unless Gary & crew adopt ‘international’ rink dimensions right now, then the game which we ‘love and know’ is doomed … and that’s a shame :(

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:42 AM

      I also favor a bigger rink, though I doubt NHL rink owners will wish to cut out high price seats to make such changes. But I fail to see how a bigger rink would have prevented this hit and others like it. McLeod creamed Kronwall into the boards. Until no one is encouraged to make such hits, and penalties really hurt, I think we’ll keep seeing them. A 10-game penalty? Try 40 games and see if even the dumber guys get the hint.

      • tdaveniii - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:59 AM

        You do not cut out “high price” seats, you actually increase the number of high price seats while losing low cost seats. If the rink is made bigger, you actually have more seats on the glass and more seats in each subsequent row than you currently do.

      • imleftcoast - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

        Shanahan’s practice has been to give a fine if there isn’t an injury on a hit from behind. His inconsistency this year has contributed to this getting out of hand within the week.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:16 PM

        Tdave, forgive me, but I’m having trouble picturing what you are describing. I can see that if you widen an NHL ice surface from 85 feet to the Olympic size 98 feet in an existing NHL arena (I don’t know of any new arenas in the works) there will be a few more seats behind the end boards. But there will have to be a row or two of ice-level seats that will be lost on each side of the rink to move the side boards back 6.5 feet on each side, no? (Construction alone will not be cheap.) You can’t completely move all the seating back without completely gutting the arena, and in some arenas, widening might not even be feasible at all without major modifications.

    • joey4id - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      The whole rule book has to be reviewed and adapted for today’s game. More than that they have to lead the way for reform & asking minor hockey teams to change how kids check and junior teams to enforce new rules. Players have to learn to lead with their shoulders and lean into a player. NowI This won’t eliminate every injury, but they have to reduce the occurrences. They have to seriously look at the root cause of all these head injuries as opposing to reacting at the NHL level. A committee should be formed to assess why these are happening and make recommendations, and it includes looking at hockey equipment. Do shoulder and elbow pads need to be as hard as they are. Example: Shoulder & Elbow pads have 4 layers 1) comfort liner 2) compressed HD foam gasket 3) compressed plastic cap 4) 2 way foam protection…. C’mon! Really! No wonder why shoulder & elbow hits to the head are so damaging.

  4. charlieconway96 - Oct 18, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    Given how long his back was turned, his head obviously down and trying to find the puck, how often guys go into the corner on dumps exactly like this and the elbow straight to the lowered head, could we say this may be the worst hit of this early season? Never had anything against McLeod, and as the announcers say, I typically see him as a standard hard nosed player, but this was pretty bad. As for “a taste of his own medicine”, pretty ill timed comment in my opinion.

    • jeffchadwick - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:57 AM

      +1 – especially when Kronwall is lying prone on the ground with the classic concussion “look.”

  5. kingsfan93 - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:07 AM

    What about a one strike, two strike, and third strike they are banned from the NHL? Repeat offenders that do this type of crap would put a stop to it all.

  6. isithockeyseasonyet - Oct 18, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    Holy god, I don’t know what made me scoff more, the hit or the classless announcer making the comments he made. That being said, kronwall targets people with their head down, they’re always clean (from what I’ve seen) but that doesn’t change the fact he targets guys when they’re vulnerable. Nobody deserves that kind of hit, maybe James Neal , but nobody else. I just think it’s amusing that since it’s kronwall, NOW Babcock wants these hits out. I don’t remember him being so sympathetic when jakub voracek was sprawled out on the ice. Best wishes to kronwall, hope he’s ok

  7. jhaegs - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:29 AM

    He turned just prior to the hit. Bad luck- it’s hockey. Let’s not turn the NHL into the new NFL. These guys get paid well and understand the risks they’re taking. If teammates feel it was a horrible cheap shot, they’ll get some revenge next time. It’s just too bad it wasn’t Tootoo or Bertuzzi that took the hit…

    • ironyisadeadscene - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:47 AM

      I’m guessing you just want attention with those idiotic comments. The hit was unnecessary, Kronwall’s back was to McLeod the whole time.

  8. nicknyhc - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Dumb hit and even dumber comments by the announcers. Have some respect idiots.

    Kronwall has not “made a living” throwing these hits. I’m an eastern conference guy who admittedly hasn’t seen a lot of Wings games in the past few years, but I consider Kronwall one of the cleanest hard hitters in the game.

  9. jhaegs - Oct 18, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    @irony

    The hit was unnecessary? The only unnecessary hit in hockey is after the whistle or when the player doesn’t have the puck. McLeod wasn’t expecting Kronwall to stop on a dime and turn back towards him. Have you ever played hockey? Stop looking at the slow motion replay, so you can get a sense of how little time he had to react. I’m in no way an Avs fan, but some of you fans need thicker skin.

    • joey4id - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      You’re making it sound like there was no way for McLeod to avoid the hit. So! Maybe you should tell Babcock to shut up while you’re at it. After all, what does he know about the speed of the game? He never played in the NHL after all. Players have to slow their momentum when they see the numbers. It may not eliminate contact, but at least the force of the blow should be less and contribute to reducing the boarding/checking from behind incidents.

    • matt14gg - Oct 19, 2013 at 9:09 AM

      “McLeod wasn’t expecting Kronwall to stop on a dime and turn back towards him.”

      Where is he supposed to stop? He’s at the boards, with the puck, did you want him to continue through the boards to avoid the hit? Or are you saying he should have continued along the wall? If so, how does that have an effect on the hit? The head shot was avoidable if McLeod wanted to avoid it. He didn’t.

      I played hockey for over thirty years. You can absolutely hit the guy, but as a player you also have control over how and where on the body you hit him. If you don’t think that’s true then I don’t believe you’ve ever played the game.

  10. gatorjr - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Jhaegs your an IDIOT!!!

  11. Plumber 65 - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Can u say karma?????

  12. Plumber 65 - Oct 18, 2013 at 8:21 AM

    Can u say karma ??????

    • thethorntonstrokes - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM

      No. Kronwall doesn’t crush peoples heads into the boards when their back is turned..

  13. mpops86 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Dangerous, illegal, suspendable, unfortunate – all yes. Dirty… I’m not seeing it. McLeod plays hard and Kronwall cut back in a direction that McLeod wasn’t expecting him to take. He had built his momentum to chase Kronwall behind the net, then had to cut in a split second to try and rub him out along the boards.

    He didn’t slow down or make enough or an attempt to avoid the head, so it’s definitely suspendable (and 6+ sounds right) but I just can’t say that this was an intentional dirty hit.

  14. michiganhockey11 - Oct 18, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    That announcer basically said that Kronwall had it coming. You stupid douche. Kronwall’s hits have been huge, but legal. You’re a hack and about as bad as that man who beat a fan with his own shoe.

    Good wing by the Wings. But does this re-ignite the rivalry?

  15. stakex - Oct 18, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    There was debate to be had about how bad the Lapierre hit actually was the other night, but this one is pretty clear… it was a bad hit that will likely draw a lengthy suspension. I mean he sees numbers all the way and proceeded to drive him head first into the boards…. can’t argue that.

    • joey4id - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:23 PM

      How old are you? Lapierre had at least 10 feet between him and Boyle when Boyle turned his back to get the puck. The Lapierre pushed Boyle into the boards. What is it that you don’t understand? You think Lapierre’s hit was not a bad hit that will draw a lengthy suspension? Both will get at least 5 games. “. I mean he sees numbers all the way and proceeded to drive him head first into the boards…. can’t argue that.” Oh! You’re describing the Lappierre on Boyle hit.

  16. shoobiedoobin - Oct 18, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    He didn’t turn at the last second. He turned but look at the video, he turned with more than enough time for McLeod to avoid hitting his head. He didn’t. He clearly didn’t care, because in this league if Kronwall pops right back up we don’t think about it for more than 10 seconds afterward.

    He’s still guilty, send him for 5 games. He probably couldn’t avoid contact but he controlled where that contact was-don’t act like an extremely fit, agile pro hockey player can’t extend his arms and simply pin him instead of cranking him on the head.

    These hits are always the best, THE absolute best barometers to determine who knows their stuff and who is a doofus. Lots of doofus comments in here.

  17. shamu1the1whale - Oct 18, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I’m glad the Wings won the game last night. And I’m also glad that Datsyuk scored

  18. jhaegs - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    @gatorjr

    And you’re a meany head…

  19. flydommo - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Kronwall himself is a hard hitter but as long as you hit legally, that’s perfectly okay. This is about as reckless, dirty and mean as it gets. Hitting fromt behind, plus making contact with the head of an opposing player leaning down to play the puck along the boards. It’s like entering a kindergarten with a Bazooka in your hand. Completely out of place.

    • thesportsjudge - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      Just about the 1 year mark of Newtown CT and you make THIS analogy?

  20. jhaegs - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    You would think they could design a seamless transition from the glass to the boards, instead of a 3″ protrusion that will win every battle with someone’s head. It would actually be extremely easy to design…

  21. jhaegs - Oct 18, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    @thesportsjudge

    Ya, because I’m sure he meant to link his analogy to that tragedy. Make something out of nothing much?

    Besides, everyone knows that thing was a government conspiracy to aid in Obama’s gun ban… (JK)

    (Or am I?)

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