The morning after he appeared to be hurt on the final play of a 2-1 overtime loss Tuesday, Detroit Red Wings
defenseman Niklas Kronwall
was back at practice without limitations.
About a minute and 30 seconds into overtime against the Minnesota Wild
, Kronwall charged into the corner in the Detroit zone on a penalty kill to play the puck against Mikko Koivu
, who'd gotten to it first. Koivu instinctively stepped back and threw a shoulder at Kronwall to shield the puck and appeared to hit Kronwall in the face. The blueliner's head was knocked back and his helmet was jarred loose.
Kronwall, who just signed a seven-year contract extension with Detroit on Monday, was examined after the game, but the Wings didn't provide an immediate update on his condition. After Wednesday's practice, Kronwall met with reporters and said he's feeling fine.
"I just got a little dinged right off the hit for the first five or seven seconds," he said. "I felt fine after. As soon as I got off the ice, everything felt great."
He said he feels fortunate to not have been injured worse.
"Of course, because you never know with incidents like that," said Kronwall, who was also re-examined Wednesday morning before taking the ice for practice at Joe Louis Arena.
"It was a good play on his part," Kronwall said. "He caught me off guard and it ended up costing us the game. Obviously I have to be a little more aware out there. I think it was a square shoulder. I kind of leaned forward to go in and fight for the puck and he just took a step backward and there wasn't any more to it."
Teammates were concerned about Kronwall's health after the hit, but now that they know he's fine, they can go back to worrying about stopping a frustrating five-game winless streak.
"You don't want anybody hurting, especially when you're struggling a little bit as a team," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "You want all hands on deck. He's an important player for us and it was unfortunate the way it happened. But that's part of hockey."