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Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall smokes Jakub Voracek

Updated 4x with Flyers comments at 12:03 AM: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall lined up Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek at the Flyers’ blueline tonight, hoping to land an elbow or butt into Voracek’s body…But Voracek was leaning forward and hit Voracek shoulder-to-head. I don’t believe there was any intent to injure on Kronwall’s part, but this will certainly be reviewed as Voracek was woozy and left the game

Here’s how the Flyers’ broadcasters saw it:

Here’s hoping that Voracek’s okay.

Update: Via RedWingsFeed, Here’s NHL.com’s clip, narrated by the Wings’ broadcasters:

Update #2: Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi’s take on the hit:

With about 12-1/2 minutes left in the second period and the Flyers holding a 2-1 lead, Voracek was violently knocked to the ice by Kronwall’s open-ice shoulder hit to the winger’s face. No penalty was called, and a woozy Voracek went to the locker room.

Kronwall figures to have a hearing with the NHL and faces a possible fine and suspension.

Here’s CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio’s take:

Voracek would leave the game less than eight minutes into the second period when he was crushed with a shoulder-to-face check from Detroit blue liner Niklas Kronwall – without a call.

The Flyer forward had looked up, turned and skated right into Kronwall. The play will inevitably be reviewed for a fine or suspension but given Voracek turned into the hit unknowingly, no action may come about.

The hit was so violet, Voracek’s helmet become loosened. He tried to get up and collapsed, but somehow eventually skated to the bench and headed to the dressing room.

Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski weighs in as follows:

Should this warrant a suspension? Of course not. It’s a brutal, legal hockey hit that caught Voracek with his head down, attempting to finesse the puck with one hand along the boards. He glances up before he plays the puck. He knows there’s a defender near the blue line. Made he didn’t know it was Swedish one-man wrecking crew, but he knew someone was there, and ran the risk.

Scary scene, and you hope Voracek isn’t seriously injured. But that was just a wicked example of the kind of hit that should be left in the game.

Via RedWingsFeed, here’s the NHL Network’s Gary Green’s take on the hit:

Here’s NHL.com’s update on the Flyers’ injuries:

Philadelphia forwards Jakub Voracek and Jaromir Jagr both left Tuesday’s game against Detroit in the second period with injuries.

Voracek skated off after a thunderous second-period hit by Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall just inside the Flyers’ blue line. Voracek was reaching for the puck with his head down, and Kronwall flattened him. He stayed on his knees until the next whistle, needed help to get to the bench and left for the locker room. Voracek did not come out for the third period; the Flyers said after the game that he had stitches in his upper and lower mouth.

Jagr left with what the Flyers said afterward was a hip injury.

The team said both players will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. The Flyers, who beat the Red Wings 3-2, are off until hosting Florida on Thursday.

Good news: Via Twitter, Sam Carchidi, Panaccio and the Flyers’ website all report that Voracek took stitches to his mouth, but is OK!

Update #3: Per the Red Wings’ Twitter account:

Kronwall on the hit: “He was coming up along the boards and I took a stride forward.”
...
Kronwall: “The power play has to be a lot better than it was tonight to make a difference.”
...
Kronwall: “We just couldn’t find a way tonight.”
...
Kronwall on the fan reaction after the hit: “I think it’s just natural ... the way things happen like that .. it’s how it goes.”
...
Babcock: I just thought he finished his check like he always does. You never want to see a guy get hurt. Kroner is not that type of player.

Here’s one more angle from The Score:

Update #4: This was coming, from the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan:

As can be expected, the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t take kindly to the Niklas Kronwall hit on Jakub Voracek in Tuesday’s second period.
It was a hard collision along the boards, and Voracek didn’t return to the game after the hit.

“I wanted to puke,” Flyers forward Danny Briere said. “When you see someone lay on the ice like that. I haven’t seen the replay of the hit, I don’t know if the hit was targeted or if it was a clean check. It’s still not fun to see when you’re on the ice and you see someone laying there shaking. It was a bad feeling in everybody’s stomach.”

Flyers forward Max Talbot said the team did use the hit as motivation.

“Well, we answered back. It is always frustrating and until you see the replay, you don’t know how dirty it was,” Talbot said. “Dirty or not, it is frustrating for guys in this dressing room to see a hit like this happen. You never want to see a guy go down. Obviously a lot of guys wanted to see (Niklas) Kronwall and he didn’t want to answer for his act. It is something that he thought was a clean hit so you can’t blame the guy. At the same time it is frustrating for us.”

Said Flyers forward Claude Giroux: “I didn’t see it, just the replay. It was a good hit and I didn’t really see it either if it was a head shot or not but Kronwall is pretty good at those hits. Obviously we hope Jake is gonna be okay.”

Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said: “”It was a tough hit, he (Voracek) took it right in the head. It was frustrating because he’s having a terrific year, and he’s a terrific player for us and it’s substantial when you’re battling through a lot of injuries and you’re dealing with it and you take a hit like that. It’s tough and you hope he’s alright and you hope he bounces back quick

“The game happens so fast out there. It’s a defensemen stepping up on a forward. It was hard to tell, when you go back and look at it, it was clearly the head which is tough. That’s the area that’s supposed to be safer this year and he got popped right on it.”

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Comments

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bezukov's avatar

Here’s hoping that Voracek’s okay.

Ditto

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 03/06/12 at 10:59 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Clearly?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/06/12 at 11:00 PM ET

SolidTG7's avatar

Have a hard time taking Bill Clement seriously when he says that something is wrong.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 03/06/12 at 11:00 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Head-on and clean. Except primary contact was almost entirely with the head. Like it or not, with the new rule he’s gotta let up. Kronner will be sitting a couple games.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 03/06/12 at 11:01 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I think that Clement was talking about no whistle going, and I agree with him.

I dunno if Kronwall will sit…But he will speak to Shanahan, definitely.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/06/12 at 11:02 PM ET

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Keep your head up kid.

He’ll probably get a couple for that one.  That being said, if they want to take that hit out of the game, I don’t think I want to watch anymore.

Posted by MTL_WINGS from Montreal on 03/06/12 at 11:04 PM ET

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I don’t know how you can say there’s no intent to injure.  I don’t think he was trying to tickle him.

Posted by Shand from Vancouver on 03/06/12 at 11:04 PM ET

testgrenade's avatar

Hard clean hit. How many times are people going to complain about a hit on a guy whose head is down?

Posted by testgrenade on 03/06/12 at 11:06 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

intent to injure

How?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/06/12 at 11:06 PM ET

alukacs's avatar

“However, in determining whether such a hit should have been permitted, the circumstances of the hit, including whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit”

- reviewed and no suspension.

Hope Voracek is okay.

Posted by alukacs on 03/06/12 at 11:11 PM ET

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About the whistle that Clement is whining about, the refs always let play go on if a team has a potential scoring opportunity.  It’s been like that for years.  You’d think an ex nhler would know that.

Posted by MTL_WINGS from Montreal on 03/06/12 at 11:18 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Here’s hoping Voracek recovers and takes his time coming back.

Kronner gets him in the head as the primary point of impact, but no launching and it’s clearly not hitting him with the intent of injuring or he could’ve dropped a touch and caught him with the top of the shoulder pad instead of the back of his shoulder- which is something Kronwall has gotten much better about.

Voracek is a much larger guy, and clearly had his head down making him entirely at fault for creating the defenseless position, but Kronwall could’ve easily let up and as Shanahan usually says, “the onus is on the hitter to let up if the opposing player is in a defenseless position.

I am really not sure it’s a dirty hit, but I think it’s a hit that’ll get him two on the bench because he’s definitely got the reputation a predatory hitter (deserved) and it was definitely to the head.  I sincerely hope not.  I don’t like the future implications of Kronwall being a repeat offender in the league’s eyes.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/06/12 at 11:19 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

I don’t know how you can say there’s no intent to injure.  I don’t think he was trying to tickle him.

My coaches used to always ask players, “Are you hurt, or are you injured?”  It’s an important distinction.  Kronwall is clearly trying to hurt players, but I don’t think his hitting style this year is indicative of intent to injure in the same way as many of the players who created these necessary newer rules.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/06/12 at 11:21 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

See, faux that.

Rinaldo on the other bench has gotten by scott free on two hits very similar to the hit Smith had in preseason that got him seated for 5 games. If Kronner gets the bench, then it’s blatantly obvious the Flyers have the ear of the NHL in more ways than one…and we’re not even talking about Comcast.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/06/12 at 11:22 PM ET

Avatar

Why couldn’t that hit have been hartnal or that rinaldo turd?  Vorucek is clearly not fine.

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 03/06/12 at 11:33 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

and we’re not even talking about Comcast.

There we go.

The extensor reflex after Voracek hit the ice is probably not a good sign.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 03/06/12 at 11:38 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Back on!

Thanks for the video. Clean hit. Both feet down, no leading with an elbow or shoulder.  Some harrumph, harumphs from Shanny and done.  Just a dude not looking where his feet are heading. Hope he’s all right.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, with 3 fingers of rum & a cigar.. on 03/06/12 at 11:41 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Zebra sillyness…...

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, with 3 fingers of rum & a cigar.. on 03/06/12 at 11:43 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I have to agree that Voracek was looking down and back and made himself vulnerable.  Opponents need to remember that Kronwall makes guys in that position explode.

Voracek will need some rest time.  Kronwall may get a tsk, tsk, but that was a clean hit.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 03/07/12 at 12:00 AM ET

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Big hit.  Probably suspend able due tote head being hit… But who the hell knows any more.  At this point it is a guessing game.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/07/12 at 12:08 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 03/06/12 at 10:08 PM ET

What this guy said.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/07/12 at 12:15 AM ET

Avatar

Scary how his arms raised up like that, hope he is okay. As for the hit, don’t know if it is really suspension worthy, but if it violates a rule it violates a rule. Players can’t be looking down ever when Kronwall is on the ice, this is like the 10th time he killed someone from that position.

Posted by Jasper on 03/07/12 at 12:29 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

“the onus is on the hitter to let up if the opposing player is in a defenseless position

If Voracek doesn’t lower his head, that’s just an epic hit and life goes on. Not to blame the victim, but well… Kronwall did nothing wrong.

That said, Kronwall’s new “backing into people” hitting stance keeps him from noticing whether or not the opposing player is defenseless, so… I don’t know.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/07/12 at 12:41 AM ET

Avatar

First, the whistle SHOULD NOT have been blown, because Detroit still had the puck.  When Eaves took the shot off his head earlier this season, the whistle did NOT blow, I’ve seen MANY other plays been blown dead (not a pun), and other NOT blown. 

The rule states play continues (unless Jiri Fischer’s heart stops, or Zednik’s neck blows a gasket.  I don’t think that applies here, although his bell was clearly rung HARD.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/07/12 at 12:53 AM ET

Coastal Coyote's avatar

I truly hope Voracek is alright, and I hope he has learned that in the game of hockey he needs to keep his head up and protect himself.  Clean hit by Kronwall, although thanks to Voracek’s decision not to pay attention the primary point of contact is the head.  These days I just don’t know what the league is going to say or do.  To me this is another brutal but clean hit by Kronwall.  Coaches should show his highlight hit in the locker rooms as an example of how to hit clean, and as a reminder to players to keep their heads up.  Man I hope Voracek is alright.

Posted by Coastal Coyote on 03/07/12 at 01:41 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I think I agree with Clement about the whistle. When you see a guy go limp like that for a second, it could be a case where the clock on getting the medical staff out to treat him immediately has already started ticking.

If the Red Wings have to lose the momentum on an offensive-zone possession because of that, then I would much rather that happen than see a guy who quite possibly literally had his head lifted off his neck not get the immediate treatment which could be the difference between him surviving or ever being able to walk again.

We all got lucky that this wasn’t the case with this hit, but I would MUCH rather play it safe than be sorry about something potentially this serious.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/07/12 at 01:42 AM ET

Avatar

We all got lucky that this wasn’t the case with this hit, but I would MUCH rather play it safe than be sorry about something potentially this serious.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/06/12 at 11:42 PM ET

The problem with trying to play it safe, is that you’ll end up with players playing “dead” to get the whistle (I’m looking at you San Jose) when they’re only mildly hurt.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 03/07/12 at 01:51 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The problem with trying to play it safe, is that you’ll end up with players playing “dead” to get the whistle (I’m looking at you San Jose) when they’re only mildly hurt.

Then warn, fine, suspend. 

I can see the difference between a guy blocking a puck and being in some pain, but this was a bone-crushing hit. It would take one hell of a thespian to throw his hands up and go limp like Voracek did immediately after contact here.

The refs used improper judgment in both that San Jose game and in this one, just to opposite effects.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/07/12 at 01:58 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Head-on and clean. Except primary contact was almost entirely with the head. Like it or not, with the new rule he’s gotta let up.

The best angle of the hit is the one from behind Voracek. From that position, you can see that Kronwall is targeting his body, not his head. All Voracek had to do was not lower his head. But he did, and he got smoked. Maybe next time, he’ll keep in mind that players don’t get to freely skate around the ice when they have the puck.

Mickey made the point that, at some point, players have to take responsibility for their own safety. Voracek didn’t. He put himself in a vulnerable position. No one made him do it. And he paid the price. End of story.

As for Kronwall, kudos to him for learning how to deliver those hits without using an elbow or leaving his feet. If he’d delivered that same hit a year ago, Voracek would probably be in the intensive care unit right now.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 03/07/12 at 02:14 AM ET

Avatar

Play should not have been stopped. Been there done that. In high school I dislocated my patella, tore up some ligaments, and the play went on for a good minute before they blew the whistle. I tried getting back to the bench, but that wasn’t going to happen. Thats the way the games been played for a long time.

Posted by T on 03/07/12 at 02:20 AM ET

cs6687's avatar

That’s a good hit. Kronwall should not be disciplined or fined. Voracek was stupid enough to put his head down. Yes, Kronwall did make contact with the head. But that’s only because of Voracek’s stupidity. I hope he’s okay, but like the Nystrom hit on Letang, a player is responsible for not putting himself in vulnerable positions to take hits. Additionally, Kronwall didn’t get his elbows up and didn’t charge. He should get nothing.

Posted by cs6687 on 03/07/12 at 04:27 AM ET

Chet's avatar

a clean hockey hit. agree w clement clement hands of cement about the slow stoppage.

mac’s rebound control awful. also just seemed like general timidity out of some of the callups. janik’s a roster guy on half if not more of the teams in this league.

cleary not 100pct.

it’s interesting how subjectively the headshot rule is determined as the season progresses. like obstruction used to be called all the time. now?...

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/07/12 at 05:10 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

I think everything but the point of impact is clean. Under the new rules, Kronwall can’t make that hit like that, he’s got to lower himself to make sure he doesn’t hit the head. This would be the perfect place for a hip check, not a stand-up shoulder hit. On Clement, others have said it but yes, he was talking about the slow whistle when a guy looks like he’s gotten his bell rung, especially with the prone position he popped into when he hit the ice. In his words, every second can count when dealing and diagnosing anything with the head, so the refs should be a little more conservative in blowing the play dead on things like this, like they do when pucks hit guys in the head.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 03/07/12 at 09:40 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Stuart’s comment after the game was apt, speaking to the apparent lapse in scouting around the league (especially EC), that is supposed to give players a heads up (sorry, bad pun) about the opponent.  Kronner knows how to make that hit and looks for it, and it’s amazing that he still gets chances to make it as often as he does.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/07/12 at 11:05 AM ET

YYZerman's avatar

I’m not sure why everyone is saying he was in a defenseless position. A defenseless position is having your back to the player or your head turned while skating through the middle of the ice and not knowing someone is about to hit you. He looked up twice and saw Kronwall coming at him. He was skating forward and Kronwall was in front of him. I just don’t see them suspending him for this. And of course the other teams can be mad he doesn’t “answer” for his hit’s, but why should he have to? First off, he doesn’t fight. Second, he is pretty much 2” smaller and 15-30lb’s lighter than all of his “big” hits that he’s done to people like, Kesler, Clowe and Havlat. I could see getting mad if the hits were dirty but they’re not. It’s hockey. Theres hitting all the way down to when you’re a teenager.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 03/07/12 at 12:19 PM ET

Stevis's avatar

Play should not have been stopped. Been there done that. In high school I dislocated my patella, tore up some ligaments, and the play went on for a good minute before they blew the whistle. I tried getting back to the bench, but that wasn’t going to happen. Thats the way the games been played for a long time.

The difference there is you were at no risk of death for that.  Head injuries (and severe bleeding) are different.

I agree with you in your case; like many, I’d be fine with the refs erring on the side of caution in cases like Voracek’s last night.  A goal, even for my favorite team, is not as important as critical medical care.

Posted by Stevis on 03/07/12 at 12:33 PM ET

Avatar

I just watched a bunch of his hits on you tube, what a dirty player almost every hit that is really big he leaves his feet, not intent to injure my butt, but on other hand on the hit on vorcheck is mainly clean doesnt leave his feet, but ill say he gets away with a lot of others bad hits!

Posted by J on 03/07/12 at 01:12 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

but ill say he gets away with a lot of others bad hits!

.... well, he’s not a very big guy.  He throws his weight into the hit, and sometimes he reaches, or in the followthrough of the hit he does leave his feet.  It’s happening really fast, too, and that will happen on almost any open ice hit.  That said, he doesn’t specifically go for heads; he doesn’t throw elbows around—if you really want to talk about getting away with hits, you need to study the Pronger file—, he doesn’t go for knees; and he’s never ever been evasive about his game.  And when he gets cheap shot, he doesn’t wine about it. He considers it part of the game.  Finally, I think you can see some progression his game: he is working harder at keeping his feet.  Perhaps he knows it’s more important than ever to clean up technique in the context of so much speculation (Scott Stevens couldn’t even play today, and wouldn’t want to probably).

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/07/12 at 01:20 PM ET

Avatar

yeh not a big guy throws his weight around well, just from the 5 or 6 videos i saw he left his feet in most of them, but like i said the vorcheck hit was pretty clean minus getting hit sqaure in the face, but vorcheck had his head down. so not entirely cronwalls fault, still think he gets at least a game cause of contact to head, games is tough and fast, i got leveled like that two weeks ago in my game, almost the same thing and the guy got a penalty cause he used his elbow to my chest, i had my head down so kinda my fault to.. haha

Posted by j on 03/07/12 at 01:38 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

Under the new rules, Kronwall can’t make that hit like that, he’s got to lower himself to make sure he doesn’t hit the head.

This is what we have been led to believe.  He explodes upward into the head.  Not to injure?

Hunting heads and hiding from fights (you see how he gets his stick up when a Flyer challenges him?).

You’re a fvcking pussy Kronwall.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 03/07/12 at 02:21 PM ET

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