Detroit's Niklas Kronwall unleashed the most devastating hit of the postseason on Martin Havlat in game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, who had his head down trying to find a loose puck in his skates.
From NHL Fanhouse:
Kronwall may have been guilty of charging, but that's highly debatable. Saying he was guilty of interference, as determined by referees Dave Jackson and Dan O'Halloran, is simply an unacceptable stretch of logic. Yes, Havlat looked to be completely out of it, even well after the hit. Yes, it's unfortunate for him and the Blackhawks, and no one wishes an injury on a competitor at this time of year.
None of this, however, means that Kronwall deserved a penalty. He committed to throwing a hit, and he did so without knowing that Havlat would render himself vulnerable by putting his head down trying to play a puck that got lost in his skates.
Instead of the "nothing" he probably should have gotten, Kronwall received a five-minute major penalty and an early shower. It probably won't be any more than that, but you never know what will happen with the NHL's Wheel of Discipline.
From David Staples of The Cult Of Hockey at the Edmonton Journal:
The only thing wrong with the Kornwall hit was that someone truly deserving of such a masterpiece such as Jordan Tootoo, Steve Ott, Matt Cooke, Sean Avery, Ben Eager, Adam Burish or Robyn Regehr wasnt on the receiving end of it.
The puck came around the boards to Havlat and shortly after it arrived in his skates, Kronwall rammed into him with his shoulder, as if he were Jack Lambert, Mike Singletary, Lawrence Taylor, Scott Stevens and Brian Herosian all rolled up into one ball of explosiveness.
It was a brilliant open-ice hit and, at first, neither referee raised his arm to call a penalty on the play, though that should have happened,
The apologists at the NHLs website said that Kronwall appeared to have left his feet making the hit.
From TSN's Bob McKenzie:
The big issue in the first period of Game 3 was the big hit by Niklas Kronwall, and the fact that at the 13:08 mark of that period, it garnered a five-minute major for interference. Now, the referees saw it that way, the puck was in Martin Havlat's feet. By Kronwall's standards he didn't leave his feet as badly as he often does on big hits. It was a shoulder, not an elbow or a forearm.
I haven't found anybody who doesn't have a vested interest (ie. the Blackhawks or the referee who made the call) that really believes that was a five-minute major for interference, not according to the NHL rules. But while we can go round and round in circles talking about "was it worth the five-minute major or not?", the real issue is that Martin Havlat was not able to come back.
what do you guys thing of this hit!!
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