Because it’s Niklas Kronwall’s signature hit, the NHL continually lets the Detroit Red Wings defenseman get away with it.
The moment Wild rookie Charlie Coyle got nailed by Kronwall on Wednesday, hockey fans everywhere started tweeting that Coyle got “Kronwalled.” Yeah, if you mean taking a blatant shoulder to the head, Coyle indeed got “Kronwalled.”
The next day, the league let Kronwall off the hook, deeming it “full body contact” — an insult to anybody with eyes who can watch video. It was a head shot plain and simple — and the league shouldn’t allow it by Kronwall or anybody else.
After much campaigning by friends, media, and yes, agent Ben Hankinson, who created a frenzy with one simple “FreeJakeGardiner” tweet, the Toronto Maple Leafs recalled the mobile Minnetonka defenseman last week.
Gardiner was tearing up the AHL but for some reason wasn’t in the NHL despite the Leafs losing and despite scoring 30 points last year and making the All-Rookie team. One reason could have been that he had played 77 games — three more games was a threshold that would force the Maple Leafs to place him on waivers next time they wanted to send him to the minors.
Kopitar’s tires pumped
Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter says underrated star Anze Kopitar should be a candidate for the Selke Trophy, which goes to the NHL’s best defensive forward.
The veteran coach says Kopitar is the “best all-around centerman that I’ve coached — period. Faceoffs. Last-minute. First-minute. Penalty-killer. Plays against everybody’s top player, whether it’s defenseman, center, checking role or offensive role.
“He’s a special player.”