Midway through the 1st period in last nights Edmonton oilers / Detroit Redwings game Niklas Kronwall put Ales Hemsky into his sights and took Hemsky out with a devastating hit. Questions have arose in Edmonton whether this hit was clean or suspension worthy. It is worthy to note that no penalty was called on the play.
I will break this down the best that i can. Hemsky was coming off a corner with his head down. At the last second Hemsky looked up and to his surprise Kronwall's elbow was the first and only thing he saw. Hemsky was forced to leave the ice and moments later was lead to the dressing room for observation. Hemsky did return to the game.
I have reviewed this play many times and i can safely say that Kronwall came into the hit leading with his shoulder not his elbow. Kronwall does appear to leave his right foot for a millisecond but i feel safe in saying that was only a result of preparing for the hit, not for the intent of leaping into Hemsky. All in all i have to feel that this was a clean head. Hemsky needs to keep his head up when making a play, Kronwall needs to make that hit every time he has that chance.
I have said many times that the new rules in the NHL are bad for the players. With the rules how they are a player feels safe with his head down knowing nobody can touch him. The problem with this is when a player does get hit the hit is much worse that what it would have been if he had his head up.
To put it best Hemsky got "Kronwalled" and will learn from it.