When word began to spread on Tuesday morning that Sharks forward Ryane Clowe didn't make the trip to Detroit after Game 5 in San Jose, most immediately thought it had something to do with a huge that Detroit's Niklas Kronvall put on him.
It was a clean hit, as Kronwall circled in toward Clowe near the boards and sent him to the ice while he tried to play the puck. San Jose coach Todd McLellan said Clowe stayed behind with an undisclosed upper-body injury not related to the hit, while Kronwall said he wasn't trying to knock Clowe out of action.
"Obviously, you don't want anyone to get hurt," Kronwall said on Tuesday, after Detroit's morning skate. "They said it was flu-like symptoms. I don't think it has anything to do with that hit whatsoever."
He also quickly forgot about the hit after delivering it, seeing as Detroit trailed at the time.
"I don't think anything too much after a hit," Kronwall said. "You just go out there and try to play physical."
Kronwall also laid out Dany Heatley in Game 4 with a big hit in Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, which Clowe appeared to take issue with at the end of the game. After the final horn sounded on Detroit's 4-3 win, Clowe got into a small scuffle near the Detroit bench with Justin Abdelkader.
Asked about it afterward, Clowe said he wished it had been Kronwall he'd run into at that point. Kronwal, however, had nothing but praise for Clowe's ability -- especially after racking up 4 assists in the past two games of this series.
"He's an honest player, works hard, plays hard," Kronwall said. "He's a good player."