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SpikeDDS

Kronwall Hangs Them Up

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Niklas Kronwall officially announced his retirement today. I’m actually glad, I think. Not that we won’t miss his leadership. We will to a degree. But I think this completes the transition from the Pav/Z era to the Larkin era. With Kronner gone, this is now clearly Larkin’s team. It will now surprise me if Larkin doesn’t have the C on opening night.

 

What will I miss most? That’s easy: Kronwalling! The league won’t say it officially, but I think that Kronwall’s hit portfolio helped the league navigate how it defines illegal contact with the head vs. a clean hit. The VAST majority of his notorious hits were legal even by today’s standards, and I truly hope it stays that way. He usually hit players with their heads down driving through their bodies—heads and all—almost always keeping his skates on the ice until first contact was made, to avoid the charging call. In short, if you are going to teach young players how to make a legal hockey hit at the  pinnacle level—if you want to take a legal hit as far as it can go without getting illegal with it—cue any one of a number of Kronwall’s hits and take notes. 

 

The most memorable hit for me was the hit on Voracek many seasons ago. Might have resulted in more potential injury to Voracek that one would hope, but that was more on Voracek for carelessly keeping his head down than on Kronner for hitting him that way. It was the textbook on what can happen if you skate with the puck with your head down. Do that in this league—even with the new rules, which I am grateful for—and you’re gonna pay for playing carelessly. Playing carelessly leads to injury, even your own.

 

I’ll leave the fun of posting the links of Kronwall’s greatest hits to @yave1964 who was his biggest fan on HF.

Edited by SpikeDDS
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@SpikeDDS

 

Sigh. Sad to see him go but it was clearly past time, playing on one leg for several years, although truth is he was a solid player last year, easily his best season in years. Nemeth being signed as a rugged hard hitting responsible defenseman on a two year deal was a sure sign to me that Kronner was calling it a career.

 

  Yeah the Voracek hit was a favorite, Jake skating up the boards with his head down admiring the puck on his stick oblivious to the situation and who was on the ice, MAN was that a killer hit. To me tho, my al time favorite was simply destroying Havlat in a playoff game in 2009 on more or less the same play, Havlat was literally out cold for a bit with Kronner and Big Buff stepping on him while tustling over the hit. Awesome. The refs got that one wrong and gave Kronner the boot for the hit as they did in 2015 when he destroyed Kucherov (leading to a suspension for game 7 which the Wings lost).

 

  He was a rarity in todays game, he loved to hit, he would throw a hip check which is a lost art but he preferred to lurk near the boards and wait for an unsuspecting opponent to come down the ice watching the pretty puck and then he would destroy them.  almost all were clean if brutal, when paired with Brad stuart the two fo them were arguably the most physical second pairing in the game a holy terror to watch.

 

 And for all of that he has always been considered a bit of a disappointment. He was dubbed 'Nick Junior' by fans or a writer as the heir apparent to fellow Swede Lidstrom but two things, 1) their games could not have been more different, Lidstrom was feline soft, skilled and capable of playing anyone anywhere in any situation while Kronner was a junkyard dog running you over with a bit of scoring touch and 2) Lidstrom is on the Mount Rushmore of defenseman along with Orr, Bourque and Harvey as one of the top four defenders in the history of the game-period. Kronwall was good solid plodding along every year and the expectations were simply too high.

 

 He won a cup in 2009 scoring 15 assists in 22 playoff games and while plus/minus is overrated as a stat he was plus 16 for the postseason which was huge.No way do the Wings beat the Pens without him, no way do they make the finals even without his incredible run. Again, it set up a cycle of unrealistic expectations for him as a player so instead of enjoying what he did well which was a lot instead a lot of fans focused on what he didn't do, he was slow as he aged, he got turned around a lot, he had a rep as a hard hitter but truth is other than his crushing a poor slob a time or two a year he wanst overly physical on a game by game level.

 

 Gonna miss him, one of a kind, glad they found a spot for him in the front office and tickled that he spent his entire career wearing the winged wheel.

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Hitting school in session. 

 

This Kronwall hit is actually after the rules for headshots were already put in place. There was no penalty or suspension for this hit, because it was perfectly legal, even though it was brutal!

 

Glad Voracek is OK. He seems to have learned from it, which is good. Doesn't keep his head down any more, does he?

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      Uh oh...Retirees......be on the lookout.... you just may get...………. KRONWALLED!!! 
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      Niklas Kronwall officially announced his retirement today. I’m actually glad, I think. Not that we won’t miss his leadership. We will to a degree. But I think this completes the transition from the Pav/Z era to the Larkin era. With Kronner gone, this is now clearly Larkin’s team. It will now surprise me if Larkin doesn’t have the C on opening night.   What will I miss most? That’s easy: Kronwalling! The league won’t say it officially, but I think that Kronwall’s hit portfolio helped th
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      @SpikeDDS   Sigh. Sad to see him go but it was clearly past time, playing on one leg for several years, although truth is he was a solid player last year, easily his best season in years. Nemeth being signed as a rugged hard hitting responsible defenseman on a two year deal was a sure sign to me that Kronner was calling it a career.     Yeah the Voracek hit was a favorite, Jake skating up the boards with his head down admiring the puck on his stick oblivious to the situation
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