DETROIT — Wings coach Mike Babcock doesn’t want Niklas Kronwall to change his style of play anytime soon.
Kronwall was not punished – suspended or fined – for his hit on Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek in Tuesday’s loss that sent the Flyers’ forward to the locker room for the rest of the game.
“I’d keep playing like that,” Babcock said after practice Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. “There’s a certain amount of stuff on the ice that players understand what certain players do. If I’m playing the puck on (Kronwall’s) side I’m liable to get hit.”
Kronwall knocked Voracek out of the game with his shoulder check midway through the second period that caught the forward in the head. The Flyers’ forward had his head down as he tried leaving the zone and leaning forward when Kronwall, who didn’t leave his feet and was not given a penalty, delivered the hit.
“Everything is getting reviewed, which I think is a good thing,” Kronwall said. “You just try to play the game and let (Brendan Shanahan) and his guys take care of the rest.
“Everything happens so fast out there you’re not really thinking, you just try to lay a clean check on someone,” Kronwall continued. “It’s always unfortunate when someone gets hurt. It’s not always easy to judge right away whether it’s a good hit or not. You always want to think it’s a good hit, but you can’t really tell until you see the replay.”
Kronwall delivered a similar check earlier in the season to Philadelphia’s Danny Briere.
“If you hit someone with your shoulder usually you’re going to hit him in the chest or in his shoulder and you’re good to go,” Kronwall said. “In the past there’s been times I’ve come off my feet. That’s always something I’ve been trying to work on. I think that’s still a learning curve and I’m getting better at it.”
And like Tomas Holmstrom’s play in front of the net, Kronwall feels referees have been keeping an eye on him.
“I think they have for the last few years now,” Kronwall said. “I don’t think there’s any news … every once in a while I step up in the play and try to make a check. Again, I’m not trying to focus too much about it. The moment you start thinking too much about it, that’s when you get in trouble, your arm comes up or you lift off your feet.”