NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan’s busy week continues Friday and, perhaps, into the weekend.
Following a scheduled noon ET in-person hearing with St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre, Shanahan will turn his attention to a hit administered by Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod on Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall on Thursday night.
Kronwall suffered a mild concussion and cuts to his right ear after McLeod checked him into the boards, his head striking the area between the glass and dasherboards.
'Everybody on the bench couldn't breathe, thinking different thoughts.' - Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk on teammate Niklas Kronwall
The Red Wings blue-liner was wheeled off the ice and into the team’s dressing room but didn’t go to hospital, while McLeod was assessed a major boarding penalty and game misconduct.
“Everybody on the bench couldn’t breathe, thinking different thoughts,” Detroit forward Pavel Datsyuk told reporters.
Kronwall, who was to be re-evaluated Friday morning, is expected to travel with the team to Phoenix on Saturday.
Jonathan Ericsson, Kronwall’s defence partner, said the player seemed fine after Thursday’s 4-2 victory but added Kronwall didn’t know what had happened.
“When you see that and get knocked out cold, you’re scared, to say the least,” said Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock. “Those hits, we have to get out of the game.”
First-year Avalanche coach Patrick Roy hadn’t seen a replay of the hit when approached by reporters after the game.
“I didn’t look at it because I didn’t want to look at it,” he said. “From the bench, I thought that Kronwall turned his back at the last minute. Does that make it a dirty hit or not? I guess Shanahan is going to have to make the decision.”
An in-person hearing does not mean the final ruling will be six-plus games as the league can hand out out any length of suspension thereafter.
Rule 18.9 in the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement states: If the preliminary review that a suspension of six (6) or more games may be appropriate and/or further investigation is required, an in-person hearing will be conducted …”
Earlier this week, the NHL suspended Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta 10 games for a hit to the hit against Columbus’ Jack Johnson.
A week ago, Vancouver Canucks defenceman Alex Edler was barred three games for a hit to the head of San Jose rookie forward Tomas Hertl.
Seven players were suspended in the pre-season, including Vancouver’s Zack Kassian and Dale Weise along with Toronto’s Phil Kessel and David Clarkson.