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The Malik Report

‘Roughly translated’: Niklas Kronwall on the end of the playoff streak

Niklas Kronwall will be holding his annual "Kronwall-Stars" game to benefit his youth hockey team, Jarfalla HC, on Saturday, and ahead of the game, Kronwall spoke with Aftonbladet's Tomas Ros about the Red Wings' disappointing 2016-17 season. What follows is roughly translated:

"We betrayed the fans"

How is it to belong to a team that missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years?

Niklas Kronwall knows.

"We betrayed the fans, and it hurts me," says Detroit's veteran defenseman.

The city of Detroit is so proud of its hockey team, the Red Wings. A team that gave it so many successes and the city hockey favor. Detroit is called "Hockeytown" for a reason.

But last spring's long streak broke, the longest professional streak in North merica. The one that featured 24 years of playoff hockey in Joe Louis Arena, and, during that epoch, allowed the team to celebrate four Stanley Cup Finals and lots of playoff wins.

"Empty and extremely boring"

But not in 2017. Detroit, with Swedes Gustav Nyquist, Jonathan Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg, missed the playoffs. The season ended in April.

Strange.

Unaccustomed to.

And for Niklas Kronwall, the season became a long ache that ended in a nightmare.

"Yes, you can say that the season wasn't optimal. In every way, you had better keep on going longer. I have an older body that's not good for long absences from hockey. Then we betrayed the team's record and the fans. It's not possible to describe how it felt. Just empty and extremely boring," says Kronwall.

He missed the World Cup due to a knee injury and had parts of the NHL season spoiled by another injury.

And he had to agree when the era, the streak, and Detroit's Stanley Cup ran out.

"We have had a negative-shaped curve for two years now, and went into the playoffs a year-and-a-half ago on goal differential. Last season it was only Henrik Zetterberg who had his best season. No one else got it together, and I was unwell in some games. But it's also useful to have such a season. Now we know what to do to turn the tables. We weren't good enough and it's only right," says Kronwall.

Brand new arena in Detroit

There are new times in Detroit. Not only because the team's recovering from a miserable post-season--without the Red Wings--there is also a new home at Little Caesars Arena.

"Maybe it's a good thing. We can leave the old behind us and get a new winning trend in the new arena. It's so nice and the stands are steep, so the crowd will get close to the game and the ice. It will be exciting to enter the first game," says Kronwall.

Like many other NHL players, he's deeply disappointed that the Olympics will be played without NHL professionals.

"I don't understand that at all. The NHL has the world's best chance to establish itself in a market where hockey is barely available. And then you screw this up. We're in the game and [the league] should talk to us, and it would be a bit cool if the players themselves went to the Olympics. But we're not there yet," says Kronwall.

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About The Malik Report

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.

 

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