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Shoulder sidelines Wings' Kronwall

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Kronwall favors his shoulder after taking a hit in the third period Wednesday. Kronwall, who missed four games earlier this season with a groin injury, will likely be out for at least a week.
DETROIT – A day after getting checked awkwardly into the boards, Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall was feeling pretty lucky.

It was learned Thursday that Kronwall would likely miss up to 10 days with a strained clavicle. Kronwall, who missed four games earlier this season with a groin injury, knows that he dodged a greater injury on Wednesday.

“There’s no separation. Nothing is broken. It’s good news,” said Kronwall, who drove himself to a Detroit hospital for a CT scan and X-rays following Wednesday’s 3-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena.
If the prognosis is accurate, Kronwall could return in time for the Feb. 9 game at Toronto.

In his second full season with the Red Wings, the injury bug has victimized Kronwall before, and certainly more than he or the organization would like. A year ago, he missed the final four regular-season games and the playoffs with a fractured sacrum. A torn anterior cruciate ligament sidelined Kronwall for 52 games in 2005-06.

So when the third-period hit resulted in a numbing feeling in Kronwall’s left shoulder, he instantly paused for concern.

“I think you’re always worried when you feel something that’s not right,” he said. “My left arm got a little numb for a second, but everything came back pretty quick.

“I got a cross-ice pass from (Tomas Holmstrom) and the puck bounced up ... I put myself in a bad spot. I don’t think (the Phoenix player) came in with a lot of speed. I just came into the boards in a bad way. It was no dirty play; I just came into the boards in an awkward position.”

Kronwall has been a mainstay on the Red Wings’ blueline this season, usually paired with veteran Andreas Lilja. Already, Kronwall has set career-highs in goals (five) and points (25). He’s one assist shy of matching his career-best in assists, which he reached last season when he chipped in with 21 helpers.

With defenseman Brett Lebda (sore wrist) set to return to the lineup Friday against Colorado, coach Mike Babcock said it’s not necessary for the team to call-up a defenseman from Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

“We don’t have to now,” Babcock said. “I think we have good depth. I think one of our strengths is our number of people and when people get injured we seem to fill in and keep going. We have seven quality D-men on the back end and with two kids in the minors.”

WINGS NOTES: Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom had a goal and two assists in Wednesday’s win over Phoenix. It was the 44th career game in which the five-time Norris Trophy winner has collected three-or-more points.

The Red Wings have a 41-2-1 record in games that Lidstrom has scored at least three points, including a current streak of 32 consecutive wins.

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