In many ways, this hit on Charlie Coyle of the Minnesota Wild is vintage Niklas Kronwall. It’s also not high-sticking, but we’ll get to that in a moment:
Kronwall was given a double-minor for high-sticking 30 seconds into the second period of the Detroit Red Wings’ game against the Wild, after he carried his stick high on a brutal check on Coyle.
But watching the replay, it’s yet another blown head-shot call by the officials. Instead of the usual “phantom” head shots we’ve seen this season, it’s an uncalled shoulder to the head of Coyle, as Kronwall's stick hardly made contact with him.
There’s no question the rookie was skating with his head down. But there’s also no question that Kronwall launched himself into a high on Coyle that one could argue targeted the head.
Thing is, the high-sticking double minor – on which the Wild scored their second goal of the game – probably benefitted Minnesota more than had the play been an illegal check to the head.
That’s a minor penalty if there’s no injury, which there didn’t appear to be for Coyle. Instead, Kronwall gave Minnesota four minutes of power-play time.