Niklas Kronwall: NHL Smart Not to Suspend Red Wings Star for Jakub Voracek Hit

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IMarch 7, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 06:  Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on February 6, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Red Wings 3-1.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The NHL decided not to suspend Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall for his crushing hit on Philadelphia Flyers forward Jakub Voracek on Tuesday night, according to TSN:

No suppl disc for Kronwall on Voracek. PPOC was head but deemed full body on body hit. Not a hit NHL believes should be out of the game.

— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) March 7, 2012

This was the right move by the league, because even though Kronwall hit Voracek in the head, Voracek did not have his head up. There has to be an onus on the players to make sure they keep their head up when a collision can occur.

Here is the video of the hit:

As the video shows, Kronwall lines up Voracek's body and hits him with a hard check. Voracek dips his head just before being hit by Kronwall.

Kronwall doesn't launch himself at Voracek in any kind of menacing way and does not follow through. Voracek has to know that as he turns and attempts to move up ice along the boards, there is likely going to be a Red Wings player, probably a defenseman, ready to stop his progress toward the offensive zone.

You have to know that Kronwall is one of the league's biggest hitters, which means your awareness level when playing the Red Wings has to be higher than normal.

Yes, there is no disputing that the head was the principal point of contact, but did Kronwall target Voracek's head? I don't think so, and nothing from the replay has changed my mind after watching it at least 20 times. Just because the head was hit doesn't mean it was targeted.

The NHL cannot take these hits out of the sport. There has to be a level of responsibility on the player to know where he is on the ice and realize there could be a massive hit coming. One of the biggest rules in hockey at any level is keep your head up.

Voracek didn't have enough awareness in this moment, and that's why he was caught off guard by Kronwall's massive hit.

The NHL has been inconsistent when it comes to handing out suspensions and fines for big hits recently, but in this case, it got the call absolutely right.


Nicholas Goss is a Boston Bruins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and was the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston.