Thoughts on Kronwall’s Hit

I was going to do a typical recap of Friday’s loss to the Blackhawks but I realized that I care surprisingly little about it.

Maybe it’s because I wrote the game off early in the second period, after Chicago had been awarded the first eleven minutes of power play time. Five of those minutes were from the Niklas Kronwall interference major / ejection, which is what everyone will be talking about.

I don’t agree with the five-minute major call on the hit, not do I agree with the ejection. I think it differed from Mike Brown‘s hit on Jiri Hudler in the Anaheim series in two small but important ways.

#1 – Kronwall kept his arm down and Brown led with his forearm.

#2 – Brown came in late while Kronwall made his hit with the puck right in Havlat’s feet.

Like Mike Babcock, I’d be surprised if any supplementary discipline were handed out in this case. A precedent has been set, whether right or wrong.

Rafalski Rests, Brown Back, Carlyle Complaining

Kicking off Game Two discussion early ’cause we’ve already got a bunch of news.

The Detroit Red Wings will remain without the services of defenseman Brian Rafalski, out with an upper-body injury. He also missed Game One. It looks like Chris Chelios will continue to play on the third defensive pairing but the Red Wings pretty much rotated five defensemen in the first game of the series anyway so he’ll likely see limited use.

Mike Brown will be back in the Anaheim Ducks lineup, having escaped without a suspension after his hit on Jiri Hudler in Game One. I said after the game that I didn’t expect him to be suspended but it’s still frustrating to see the NHL be so inconsistent on the matter.

Anaheim head coach Randy Carlyle says the Brown hit was clean and that it was the Red Wings who were playing dirty. He says that Niklas Kronwall should have been suspended for a hit on Ryan Carter but conveniently failed to produce video evidence of the infraction. Of course, I can’t imagine how hard Kronwall must have hit Carter for Carlyle to think it was suspension-worthy but Brown’s hit wasn’t.

Oh, yeah, a little-known NHL rule says only the big, strong Canadian boys are allowed to hit, so it’s automatically an offense if Kronwall kicks some ass.

Game Two, Sunday afternoon, NBC. Kill me now.

Lidstrom Scores Twice as Red Wings Take Game One Against Ducks

Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom scored two goals Friday night, leading the Red Wings to a 3-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks in the first game of their Western Conference Semifinal matchup.

Lidstrom’s second goal was the game-winner, scored with just 49.1 seconds remaining in regulation.

Corey Perry opened the game’s scoring, putting the Red Wings behind for the first time this playoff year. At 7:28 of the first period he blasted a shot from the top of the left circle past Detroit goalie Chris Osgood after being left uncovered on a defensive miscue.

A five-minute power play gave the Red Wings a chance to even things up. Mike Brown was given an interference major and a game misconduct for a late hit to the head of Jiri Hudler with 8:31 left in the period.

Johan Franzen drove to the net and shoved the puck past Jonas Hiller just 1:04 later, the only goal of the five-minute advantage.

Lidstrom put Detroit back in front with 5:36 left in the second period, scoring his first goal of the night on a power play slap shot from the top of the left circle.

Teemu Selanne tied things up with just 17 seconds left in the middle frame, converting on a rare four-on-three manpower advantage with a snap shot from near the left faceoff dot.

The teams traded scoring chances in the third, including a breakaway by Franzen 2:20 in and a close-in chance by Selanne just after the five-minute mark.

Lidstrom broke the tie by redirecting a Dan Cleary pass on net from the high slot. He then jumped down low to pick up the rebound and put it back between Hiller’s pads.

Hiller finished the night with 34 saves on 37 shots against. Osgood stopped 22 of 24 Anaheim chances.

The Red Wings finished the night two-for-six on the power play. The Ducks went one-for-three.

Game Two of the series is Saturday afternoon from Joe Louis Arena.

The Red Wings were without Kris Draper for the fifth-straight playoff game. They were also missing Brian Rafalski, who missed his first game of the playoffs with an upper-body injury… It was the second consecutive game that Detroit won with a goal in the closing minute of regulation… Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and Anaheim forward Corey Perry fought at 4:12 of the second period.

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