Well, the news on Nik Kronwall’s injury is both good and bad. It’s good in the sense that looking at the hit and knowing Kronner’s past knee issues, I immediately assumed that he’d be setting a date with a knee surgeon in the near future. From that perspective, the current estimate of 4-8 weeks seems like an early Christmas present.
However, if he were to come back in exactly four weeks, the absolute best-case scenario for his return, he would still miss 14 games. That’s right: 14 games minimum of a third pairing that consists of Derek Meech and Brett Lebda, but it’ll probably be closer to 20 because, let’s face it, that’s how this season’s gone. This next stretch of the schedule is as densely packed as I’ve ever seen, with numerous back-to-back games and only a couple of two-day breaks between games.
Losing Kronwall hurts even more because he’s been having the best year of his career so far. He’s currently ranked third in team scoring behind only the Eurotwins, and had absolutely been on a tear for the last couple of weeks. (And the fact that it came against the Habs, for whom I have always harbored a semi-irrational hatred only makes it that much worse.)
The NHL has apparently decided to review the hit to potentially punish Laraque further. Which is nice, but not particularly likely to help fill the hole on the blue line he caused. Predictably, the league asked for a medical report on Kronner to factor into their decision. This is a perfect example of why the disciplinary process is such a joke. It shouldn’t matter if he’ll be out for four weeks or four days, if the hit itself was dirty, it should be punished. (The same goes for headshots.) A dirty hit is a dirty hit whether the player on the receiving end has his career ended or shakes it off and doesn’t miss a shift. But we all know that’s not how the league rolls.