Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall injured Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat tonight with a dangerous hit to head. Havlat appeared to be knocked out immediately from the hit which Kronwall left his feet to deliver. Kronwall was given a major for interference and a game misconduct. It was a call similar to the one Rangers goon Colton Orr recieved in a game this season on a hit against Penguins defenseman Mark Eaton.
EN Says: First off, Havlat set up Kronwall by not keeping his head up and keeping track of the Red Wings defenseman. That's a Cardinal sin in this sport. Keep your head up.
The officials made the wrong call. The puck was right there with Havlat and he was essentially engaged with it. Kronwall had every right to legally hit him.
That said, Kronwall's a head hunter who has a history of leaving his feet to deliver hits. And he charged Havlat. Versus commentators Ed Olczyk, Brian Engblom and Keith Jones kept saying Kronwall didn't leave his feet to deliver the hit. They must have depth perception issues because this is what we saw:
Kronwall was up in the air for maybe a split second, but that doesn't matter. According to Rule 43 of the NHL's rulebook:
There's no mention of length or height in terms of how a player a leaves his skate.
Maybe it's semantics arguing over what kind of penalty Kronwall got, but it was charging in our book. And he could've still been kicked out of the game at the official's discretion.
The bottom line is, Kronwall has gotten away with hits like this for far too long. It's about time he faces some discipline for it, even if it's only within this game tonight. Given how random the NHL's supplemental discipline is, we can't even speculate what Colin Campbell will do.
UPDATE: A video of the hit is now available: