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Red Wings-Avalanche tailings: on the McLeod in-person hearing and the Griffins’ home opener

Updated 5x: MLive's Brendan Savage reports that Ken Holland's stating Kronwall "has a mild concussion" and is "day-to-day": As Paul noted, the NHL has given Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod an invitation to visit Brendan Shanahan in New York for a hit on Niklas Kronwall that drew very different reactions from the Red Wings and Avalanche's broadcasters.

Again, NHL.com posted the Wings' feed of the hit...

We All Bleed Red found Altitude's take, and Mike Haynes and Peter McNab's takes are ludicrous...

And it's studio analysts' take on the hit is worse:

Not impressed?

TSN noted the circumstances surrounding an in-person hearing...

Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod will have an in-person hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety for his first period hit on Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall during Detroit's 4-2 win on Thursday night.

McLeod, who was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for boarding and Kronwall was taken from the ice on a stretcher.

After the game, the Red Wings told the media that Kronwall had sustained a concussion.

By having an in-person hearing, the league can suspend McLeod for more than five-games as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

I noted the Hockey News's Ken Campbell's take in the game wrap-up post, and this morning, the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek weighed in...

It was Detroit’s first crack at Patrick Roy-led Colorado and brought to mind many fabulous battles of the recent past. But it was all eerily quiet at the Pepsi Center early in the first when Kronwall went back to retrieve a puck and got creamed into the boards by the Avalanche’s Cody McLeod, who received a boarding major and a game misconduct on the play.

Kronwall put on the brakes and tried to reverse the puck and in turning to his left, briefly had his back to McLeod, who ploughed on into him. It was one of those bang-bang reaction plays that will put NHL discipline chief Brendan Shanahan’s powers to the test because the sequence wasn’t as clear-cut dirty as some of the other suspension-worthy incidents we’ve seen this week. Officially, Kronwall is out with a concussion.

And sportsnet's Chris Johnston noted that player agent and former Tampa Bay Lightning GM Brian Lawton sided with the Avs' announcers:

Sounds like Patrick Roy's reaction, per the Associated Press:

"To be honest with you, I didn't look at it because I didn't want to look at it," Roy said. "I didn't want to make a comment on it. From the bench, I thought Kronwall turned his back at the last minute. Does that make it dirty? I guess Shanahan has to make a decision. From the bench I saw a defenseman turn his back at the last second. For anyone who knows the game it's hard for a player to stop."

As MLive's Brendan Savage noted, Kronwall's status is "to be determined"...

McLeod hit Kronwall from behind, leaving the Red Wings defenseman with a concussion and cuts on his right ear 2:13 into Detroit's 4-2 victory.

McLeod was ejected and Kronwall was taken from the ice on a stretcher and did not return. Kronwall was examined at a local hospital, was alert and accompanied the Red Wings to Phoenix, where they play Saturday.

And the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan offers an update as to Kronwall's status given that the team's worried about using the c-word lest Kronwall ends up having to miss a week's worth of play before returning:

"He's not ruled out for Saturday's game yet," said Holland, noting Saturday's game in Phoenix. "I would say (he's) day to day."

Kronwall left the game at 2:13 of the first period on a stretcher, the team later announcing he had a concussion and cuts near his ear.

Kronwall was skating back to retrieve a puck when Avalanche forward Cody McLeod checked Kronwall into the boards, Kronwall's head hitting the area between the glass and dasherboards.

"Just awful," said forward Daniel Alfredsson of the injury. "You're always worried about the neck and back and but we saw him move and tried to get himself up. That's a good sign."

By the time Kronwall got into the locker room, he was responsive, talked with teammates between periods, and doing well.

"He seemed fine," said defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall's defensive partner. "It was scary. He was out. He didn't know what happened. You could see he was just out of it for a little bit. But we found out pretty early he was fine and was going to recover."

In Swedish, Aftonbladet posted a supberb set of images from the hit, including John Mitchell's simultaneous charging of Luke Glendening, and while Niklas Kronwall predictably blamed himself for being in a vulnerable position while speaking with Expresen's Gunnar Nordstrom, but he's technically concussed.




In other news, the Denver Post's Terry Frei posted a late-night set of quips and quotes from the Avs' players regarding the Wings-inflicted loss...

As I was around the Avalanche at the morning skate and then at the game, it struck me that ]Nathan] MacKinnon was in diapers during the most acrimonious and most-replayed events of the rivalry. But he certainly is aware of the history.

“It was fun,” he said. “We battled hard, I thought, and they have a lot of talented guys. Maybe we could manage the blue lines a little better, but they have some pretty talented players and they made us pay tonight with their skill.”

Matt Duchene, meanwhile, was a bit upset that his near-breakaway late in the first period didn’t lead to either a penalty on reaching Detroit defenseman Danny Dekeyser or even a penalty shot. Instead, Jonas Gustavsson made a scrambling save on him and the Avalanche remained behind 2-0.

“I got slashed in the hand and (a referee) told me it was all pants,” Duchene said. “I don’t know, I didn’t like that at all. I tried to go upstairs and I hit him right in the toe. If I don’t get slashed in the hand, hopefully I get it up and it’s in. But he’s convinced I got hit in the pants, so that’s his call. That’s unfortunate, I thought it could have been a penalty or a penalty shot, for sure.”

Erik Johnson, who had one of the Avalanche goals on a terrific individual play, said the loss wasn’t demoralizing.

“When he you start every year, you do into every game wanting to win every game, right?” he asked. “But no team in the history of the league has gone 82-0. But that being said, it hurts to lose, it always hurts to lose. At the same time, Detroit played a good game and their special teams really came through for them at the end. That was the difference.”


I’m tempted to say Roy sounded upbeat following his first loss, too, as an NHL coach. But it was more than he felt good about the way the Avalanche came back from the 2-0 deficit, competed against one of the best teams in the league, and in most ways made additional progress in winning back the market rather than disappointed anyone.

“I loved the energy we had for the whole game,” he said. “No one gave up.”

The Denver Post's Adrian Dater posted a set of post-game observations...

1.Cody McLeod will get a suspension for his first-period hit on Niklas Kronwall. He should have held up more when he saw the guy's back turned. That said, Kronwall did what a player is taught not to do - keeping your head low to the dasher while playing the puck. But McLeod will get something.. 2. Alex Tanguay's stupid stick foul in the third period messed up all the Avs' building momentum to that point, put the Wings back on the power play and the Avs' still rather weak PK unit had no answer. 3. Still, they outplayed the Wings for large portions of the game. 5-on-5, the Avs were a lot better and missed a lot of easy shots.

Again, as noted last night, ColoradoAvalanche.com's Rob Knabenbauer found that the Avs were indeed upbeat about their performance and the opportunity to tangle with the Wings, who they won't see again until Nicklas Lidstrom's jersey is raised to Joe Louis Arena's rafters on March 6th:

"Their goalie came up big for them, I can’t stress that enough," Avs center Matt Duchene said. "I think at the end there, I don’t even know how many shots we had, maybe 10 shots there at the end of the game on him and he was stopping everything. I mean, he had a heck of a game for them.”

Colorado's streak ended one victory shy of tying its franchise record of seven straight wins to begin a season, in 1985-86 when the club was in Quebec. The six-game streak had already set an Avalanche team record to begin a season.

For Roy, he ends up tied with Mario Tremblay for the NHL record of consecutive wins by a head coach to begin a career (6-0). Tremblay won his first six games after taking over the Montreal coaching duties after just five games in the 1995-96 season, a team Roy was the goaltender for. Roy said before the game that continuing the streak and going 7-0 wasn't a focus for him or his team.

"We certainly want to focus on things that we can control, and what we can control is how we prepare ourselves tonight," the Avs coach said after morning skate. "How we are going to be focused. What kind of work habits are we going to have tonight on the ice? How we are going to forecheck them. How we are going to backcheck. These are the details that I would rather see our team thinking about than looking at the big picture (the result of the game)."


While the matchup was no longer an in-conference battle, it was also important for the Avs players. Colorado veteran Alex Tanguay said before the game that it would be a good indicator for the team on how it does against a veteran squad that had made the playoffs for 22 straight seasons.

"Detroit is always a team that is always there when it comes down to playoff time, when it comes down to the end of the road for the team that is going to be in contention, and for us it certainly measures where we are at against teams like that," Tanguay said.

For Matt Duchene, who grew up watching the old rivalry back in Ontario, the Avs-Wings game is one he looks forward to.

"It's always exciting when we play these guys," Duchene said. "It's a great atmosphere. It's fun to wear that burgundy and blue against the Red Wings."

The Red Wings were happy to salvage anything out of a game in which they lost their #1 defenseman, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan:

“I felt pretty good out there again today, but once again the guys helped me a lot,’’ Gustavsson said. “No matter how good we play there’s always a couple of bounces or skilled plays from their side. You got to step up and made a few saves.’ You got to give Gus credit,’’ coach Mike Babcock said. “He could be first star three nights in a row.’’

So it was a happy ending to a night that started with a scary incident. Kronwall will be further evaluated Friday, but general manager Ken Holland said he would accompany the team to Phoenix after the game.

“That was really scary, he was out, he didn’t really know what happened there,’’ Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall’s defense partner, said. “You could see he was out of it for a little bit. He was asking some questions. I made him aware of what happened. We found out pretty early that he was fine and he was going to recover.’’

Said Franzen: “I was there when they rolled him off. He seemed fine. He didn’t want to get carried out.’’

McLeod received a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. He could be looking at a suspension from the NHL.

“When you see a guy knocked out on the ice you’re scared to say the least,’’ Babcock said. “These hits are things we got to get out of the game.’’




Closer to home, the Grand Rapids Griffins will be raising their Calder Cup Championship banner tonight in Grand Rapids. They entertain the Milwaukee Admirals tonight at 7 PM...

USA Today's Kevin Allen noted that a certian Red Wings forward will join Gustav Nyquist and Cory Emmerton in Grand Rapids tonight and tomorrow (when the Griffins head to Rockford)...

Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm takes a major step toward returning to the NHL tonight (7 p.m.) when he plays for the American League’s Grand Rapids Griffins against the Milwaukee Admirals

Helm has only played one NHL game in the past 19 months because of a back injury. He will now play two AHL games this weekend with the expectation of returning to Detroit’s lineup Oct. 26 against the New York Rangers

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Detroit general manager Ken Holland.

Although Helm isn’t a star, he is considered a crucial player in Detroit because he is one of the league’s fastest players. His eye-catching speed changes the look of the Red Wings’ offensive and defensive attack.

Holland said he would attend tonight’s game in Grand Rapids to gauge Helm’s sharpness after the lengthy absence from competition.

“He’s probably going to be 20 or 30 games from where we want him to be,” Holland admitted. “This is the NHL. He will need to play some games. But he has been an important player for us, and he’s only 27. He brings some speed and other ingredients that makes us better. We have our fingers crossed that there are no more setbacks.”

Fox 17 posted a pair of auto-play clips of Griffins coach Jeff Blashill discussing  the Calder Cup-raising ceremony and Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser talking about the "Griffins family"...




In the power rankings department, the Red Wings rank 5th in NHL.com's Corey Masisak's "Super 16" rankings...

5. Detroit Red Wings (5-2-0)

The Red Wings are 5-1-0 against their new neighbors in the Eastern Conference. The one loss came on the second half of a back-to-back against the Boston Bruins and was avenged nine days later. Pavel Datsyuk is still a magician. Carry on.

MUST READ: Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News writes about the bevy of options at coach Mike Babcock's disposal this season, and how he isn't done tinkering.

The Red Wings really want to assuage their 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday, but that will be anything but an easy task, even with Jimmy Howard slated to return to the crease tomorrow night.

The Wings are wrapping up a slate of 6 games played over the course of 10 nights, and the schedule will continue to grind them down as the team will return home to host the Sharks on Monday the 21st and the Senators on Wednesday the 23rd, and the team's home game against the Rangers on Saturday the 26th precedes a 4-game Western Canadian road swing.

And if you want a wallpaper-sized image of "Gusto" stopping one of 38-of-40 Avs shots, CBS Detroit posted just such an image.




And finally, if you missed it, Fox Sports Detroit (via RedWingsFeed) did post the Chris Osgood-Patrick Roy interview:

And this is worth posting for a second time, too:



One more thing: I missed this one, but Tyler Bertuzzi had no points and went -2 in his Guelph Storm's 3-2 victory over the Windsor Spitfires on Thursday night.'



Update: From ESPN's Craig Custance's insider-only mailbag:

What do you see the Red Wings doing in terms of roster moves? Darren Helm is on his way back, as well as Patrick Eaves eventually. Who is most likely to go and do they clear a spot for Gustav Nyquist at some point?
Robert, East Lansing, Mich.

Hey, Robert. We're now 2 for 2 getting an East Lansing question in this season. Nice work. Helm and Eaves are on LTIR, which means they can't come back until later this month. The Red Wings have flexibility with Eaves, but Helm makes things interesting. His cap hit is $2.1 million, so GM Ken Holland is going to have to get creative.

It's entirely possible that another injury bails Holland out between now and then -- or Helm has a setback during his AHL rehab -- but if everyone is healthy, Jordin Tootoo would be the guy most likely moved. Mikael Samuelsson has a no-trade clause, but if Holland can work some magic and erase that $3 million, that'd be ideal too. He may be forced to package a salary and a prospect or draft pick to a team with cap room to make it all work. But based on the injury history of some of these players, the most likely resolution involves LTIR.


Update #2: Hey cool, the Yotes play tonight!

For whatever reason, the Wings didn't post the team's post-game comments until this afernoon. Here's Jonathan Ericsson...

Here's Jonas Gustavsson...

And here's Mike Babcock:


Update #3: Here's a quip from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun's chat:

David (Detroit, Mi): Detroit's top line of Datsyuk and Zetterberg with the floating winger bert, franzen, abdelkader and alfredsson is looking great this year. How long do you think babcock will be able to keep the euro twins together for this year? Is alfredsson set for a third line/power play role all season? It would make most sense to that so he can mentor the young kids and limit playing time because of his age.

Pierre LeBrun: Didn't I see Alfie skating with Datsyuk and Zetterberg for a bit last night? Couldn't sworn I saw that. Lots of good options, not sure why anyone is fretting, real potent top 9 there, especially once Helm is back.


Update #4: Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea noted that Deadspin weighed in on the Kronwall hit:

Quoting Barry Petchesky:

The Avalanche have been so bad for so long, we almost forgot what brutal homers their broadcasters are. Play-by-play man Mike Haynes was there to remind us last night, taking an uncomfortable amount of joy from an ugly injury to Detroit's Niklas Kronwall.

Kronwall was smashed into the boards by Cody McLeod and was in obvious distress. Just as the camera focused on the supine Kronwall, who would later be diagnosed with a concussion and ruled out indefinitely, Haynes said, "you talk about getting a little of your own medicine. Kronwall made a living in this league with big hits and he just got crushed there by Cody McLeod."

Update #4.5: Puck Daddy's Harrison Mooney took note of the comments, too.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



I have visions of a 3rd line of Tatar-Helm-Nyquist heading down the stretch…We also need an experienced 5/6 d-man from somewhere for Tootoo or Sammy.

Posted by AZWinger on 10/18/13 at 12:19 PM ET


I would have thought Brian Lawton would understand the difference between finishing a check and going full speed and just assuming the person you’re planning to hit is going to be in a good position for you to send them into the 5th row.

McLeod had his blinders on, and his only thought was making a big hit on the other team’s #1 defenseman.  If that’s what you decide to do then get ready to pay the price when it goes wrong.

Lawton says the only way to eliminate the hit is to change the rules, yet how about players being more cognizant of the game situation.  The only realistically possible positive outcome for the Avs with McLeod making that hit is that Kronwall gets injured.  Most of the Avs were changing.  There were two of them headed to that corner as opposed to 4 Red Wings.  The 5th Wing was along the opposite boards waiting in case the puck was sent around the net.  The chances of the Avs getting the puck with McLeod making that hit in that situation are so slim compared to the chances of Kronwall getting hurt that he absolutely needs to realize he has to let up.  He didn’t, so now he pays.  No rule change needed.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 10/18/13 at 01:19 PM ET

perfection's avatar

for the record, despite the difference in announcing at the time of the incident, later in the game Ozzie said pretty clearly that he thought it was a “hockey play gone wrong”, which I took to mean that he actually thought it was more an unfortunate circumstance than a dirty hit.

I don’t know. Seems like Kronner actually agrees that he was at least partly responsible. Could he have let up? Maybe. Definitely could have TRIED, even if it was too last second to really mitigate the damage. But I also think Kronner did in fact put himself in a really dangerous situation and if you remember the first half of his career, that was something he used to do a lot. It seemed like he was always getting creamed mid lunge or turn (the broken pelvis comes to mind which was around the same place on the ice).

Not saying McCleod shouldn’t be held accountable on some level, but I honestly think there probably isn’t much he could have done on that play. I think even if he “held up” once Kronner turned, natural laws of physics would have still carried him into Kronner pretty hard and the fact that his head was so low, he probably would have been concussed all the same. I will be interested to see Shanny’s video on this one.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 10/18/13 at 01:44 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The big hits delivered by Kronner were NEVER boarding hits.  They were straight-on, body-to-body hits.  Every single one of them.  McLeod was a boarding hit.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 10/18/13 at 02:56 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.