Red Wings veteran blueliner Niklas Kronwall had never been suspended by the NHL – that is, until Tuesday, when the league announced he was banned for Detroit’s deciding game against Tampa Bay Wednesday after a head hit on Nikita Kucherov. Kronwall’s absence for Game 7 is a significant blow to a defense corps that isn’t the NHL’s deepest.
The Detroit Red Wings will be without their best defenseman for Game 7 Wednesday after the NHL suspended veteran Niklas Kronwall one game for a head shot on Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov Monday.
The league announced the suspension late Tuesday evening, with the Department of Player Safety referencing Kronwall’s contact with Kucherov’s head and Kronwall’s feet leaving the ice at the moment of impact as factors in its decision:
The 34-year-old Kronwall had not been suspended prior to Tuesday’s announcement, and led the Wings in minutes during both the regular season and the first-round series against the Lightning, averaging 23:35 of ice time per playoff game – nearly three more minutes a night than Detroit’s next most-utilized player (Danny DeKeyser, at 20:59). His absence will be notable on a Wings defense corps that isn’t the deepest in the league.