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Cleaning Up Last Night’s Party: Wings-Canucks Aftermath

1. Niklas Kronwall will NOT be suspended or fined for his perfectly legal hit on Ryan Kesler last night, in spite of Kesler and Kevin Bieksa whining that anyone who hits anyone should be willing to fight the person they hit. Even when the hit is a legal legitimate defensive play.

2. The NHL sheepishly admitted that Vancouver’s 4th goal last night shouldn’t have counted, since it was scored by Alexander Edler while Jannik Hansen was lying on top of Jimmy Howard. They would have called it incidental contact– not given a goalie interference all, but waved off the goal because Howard had no chance to make the save.

3. Meanwhile, Howard himself is really tired of being run at by opposing skaters. Howard has scrapped several times this season with players who have made contact with him. “Z never pushed him. I watched the replay,” Howard said. “Hansen leans into him, he loses his footing, just steamrolls me. I’m just sick and tired of getting run over. It’s every single game.”

Personally, as a Red Wings fan who is most specifically a goalie fan, I love that Jimmy has such a fire in him that he will get up and defend himself when he’s run at by some skater trying to take liberties. (And that he defends his teammates when they’re being pushed around by his net– the face wash of Sidney Crosby for cross checking Henrik Zetterberg comes to mind.) But this is absolutely not something he should have to do for himself every single game. It seems somehow shameful that this guy who has the team’s back and keeps them in games every single night– even games they play terribly– doesn’t have any protection provided by his own teammates. I have a horrible feeling that if Howard leaves for another team when his contract is up, this will be the main reason why. As a goalie fan, I’d be livid.

I really hope that Jimmy calling out his teammates like this, although gently and obliquely, will be enough to convince someone (or better yet, everyone) to step up and punish the guys who try to take liberties with our netminder. I’m not asking for Bob Probert style pugilistics here. But shove the guys around a little. Make them smell your nasty sweaty gloves. Do something, anything, just to put other teams on notice that running our goalie is not going to be the cakewalk it has been up to this point.