November 22, 2009
The Detroit Red Wings are expecting defenseman Niklas Kronwall(notes) will be out at least two weeks with a "a second-degree, possibly third-degree MCL sprain to his left knee" after a knee-on-knee hit by Montreal Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque(notes) on Saturday night -- at hit Wings players and management have condemned as dirty.
The three penalties Laraque earned resulted in two power-play goals for the Red Wings, so there was some measure of revenge (to go along with winning the game in the shootout, 3-2). The question is now whether there will be something more coming Laraque's way, as everyone from the Detroit media to Don Cherry called it dirty. Laraque, however, was defiant after the game, according to the AP:
"There were four refs on the ice and they didn't call anything," Laraque said. "If they called a match penalty it would be different. There was no intent. There was no reason why I would try to go and hurt him. It was a pure accident, that's why they called it tripping, so I'm not worried at all."
George Malik has more. As he points out, it's a significant player for the Wings with a previous history of knee injuries; factor in that Laraque has a suspension history, and it's likely we'll see something more from the NHL.
But beyond the mandatory criteria for the NHL Wheel of Discipline: It's a dirty hit that deserves further sanction, and that's the case whether Kronwall was injured or not. Laraque's got a reason to worry here.