"I know one scout who tried to bring up Niklas Kronwall's name with his team," Andersson said. "They just laughed at him. They never even had a serious dialogue. They just stopped him. They said 'a 5-11 Swedish defenseman?' Our organization is more open-minded than that."
Nik Kronwall's greatest hits collection is still a work in progress. His collisions have actually created a new adverb: Kronwalled. While the Red Wings defenseman treads the thin line between legal and illegal hits, none of these beauties resulted in any games lost due to discipline. While opponents complain that Kronwall is a dirty player, his coach and teammates naturally all defend him.
He is the guy 29 teams hate but would kill to have. He never drops the gloves, which angers most opponents even more, because according to "hockey code," you should have to fight somebody else after you flatten their teammate.
As a former player, I get it, but it actually sounds ridiculous to say that out loud. While hockey is a game of respect, mutually earned and deserved, keeping your head up on the ice precludes any of the other "codes."
Kronwall is the perfect compliment to the Detroit Red Wings lineup that is constantly referred to as "soft" and passive, "not fighting enough to win games." While there are a slew of Europeans on the roster who boast more skill than brawn, Kronwall can change the face of a game(and a player) with a well-timed hit. The difference between good hitting and fighting is that a great hit can come during the flow of action and change the game, while a fight literally stops the game and completely disrupts momentum, no matter who wins it.
For my money, I'll take the defenseman who keeps opponents on their toes when they turn up the ice versus the one who stalks someone down just to drop the gloves. Here is the best of Nik Kronwall, so far.