One of three players this week to leave an NHL game on a stretcher, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall says he feels fine after suffering a mild concussion on a hit from Avalanche forward Cody McLeod. Considering the fact that Kronwall looked to be in some serious trouble after his head bounced off the dasher board, that he's feeling no effects just days later is somewhat of a surprise.
Kronwall did not practice with the team during its morning skate and will not play in Detroit's game against the Phoenix Coyotes Saturday night, but could return to practice as early as Monday.
“I feel really good, actually, after the circumstances,'' Kronwall said following the club's morning skate at Jobing.com Arena. “No issues. So far so good.''
Though it was a check from behind, Kronwall blamed himself for making himself vulnerable in that situation.
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“First of all, anytime you get hit like that you got to look at what you could have done differently,'' Kronwall said. “I know I could have done a lot of things differently.
“I shouldn't have put myself in that spot in the first place. He's coming in with a lot of speed, but I did turn the last second. It goes fast out there. It's easy to go back and look at it in slow-motion and be very smart about things, but it's hockey, everything is high-paced, it goes fast out there. Guys are going to make some bad decisions sometimes.
“In my case, I ended up on a stretcher, but I'm feeling pretty good and looking to get back on track.'' (MLive.com)
McLeod apparently reached out to Kronwall after the game and the Detroit defenseman assured the Colorado forward there were no hard feelings.
McLeod will have an in-person hearing with the Department of Player Safety Tuesday, reportedly. Kronwall's comments are likely to play some sort of role in McLeod's punishment, as Kronwall appeared to make matters worse with his sudden turn at the last second.
Don't expect McLeod to be let off the hook though. He sure seemed committed to the hit while Kronwall's back was turned. Even though the Detroit defenseman's body position changed quickly just before the hit, McLeod still is likely to get a few games and it very well could be as many as the five Maxim Lapierre got for his hit on Dan Boyle.
The fact that Kronwall was not seriously injured on the play also works in McLeod's favor, but it's hard to see him getting off without some supplemental discipline.
It's good to see what looked like a potentially catastrophic play ended as it did and Kronwall is likely to be back on the ice soon.