I realize the kerfuffle over Niklas Kronwall’s hit on Ryan Kesler last night has somewhat died down by now (hell, in Twitter time that story is weeks old), but we need to talk about this: what the hell was with him throwing that hit with his back?

First, watch the video one more time, then let’s discuss.

I’m curious about this hit, mostly because it could’ve unfolded like a completely normal (albeit large) one.

First off, credit where credit is due to Niklas Kronwall – that was gloriously timed, and just another reason he finished number two on the Backhand Shelf’s “scariest hitters” list (we’ll get to the “did he jump” part later).

My two main thoughts on the hit: first, he looks like he may be thinking hip check, with the way he curls into him. But this is an NHL defenseman – once he decides to not throw the hipper, he could certainly get his shoulder down in time for the check with a simple half-pivot. Instead he chooses to pivot…the other way?

Secondly, he does kind of jump (and is obviously propelled upwards so it looks worse), but not in a normal, Andy Sutton type of way. He jumps like a high-jumper, back going over the bar first, ready to arch and land nicely on a soft mat. ….except it’s Ryan Kesler’s body, which is decidedly less soft (yes, that’s a link to the ESPN Body Issue picture).

A number of people pointed this out to me – PK Subban did this last year, when he pulverized the snot out of Brad Marchand, stopping him dead in his tracks with what folks are calling “the bee sting.” Enjoy:

THUMP. Now that’s a back hit.

So I dunno. Maybe there’s something to this method – you are guaranteed to never get your hands/elbows up, and a “clipping” head shot isn’t possible….just a broken back for you.

So the last thing I want to ask from this incident: is Ryan Kesler ever happy (outside of when he’s Keslurking)?

theScore clips interesting audio from post game interviews (like, oh I dunno, “setting up the play” and stuff). Somehow, without fail, Ryan Kesler works his way in there about every other week complaining about how somebody wronged him. It’s his evil twin’s version of Keslurking.

I’m a big fan of the guy as a player. Big man, Selke winner, competes like hell, but it just seems like today (whatever day) is never a good one for him. Here he is casually pouting that Kronwall wouldn’t fight him after throwing the hit:

Bieksa: “Because it’s sneaky, it’s dirty.”

You may not like the hit because you think Kronwall jumped, but I’m pretty sure we can all agree on one thing: hammering a guy who has the puck hardly qualifies as “sneaky.”

Comments (18)

  1. Odd that Kesler wasn’t complaining about guys not wanting to drop the gloves after a somewhat questionable hit when it was him throwing the hit on Derek Morris and then turtling. The guy is a great player, but like much of the Canucks roster can’t get past the whiny victim complex.

    • I’ll say this: The Canucks are easily one of my five favourite teams (BC boy), and I kinda think you’re right.

      • I don’t agree about the victim complex thing. I think it’s a narrative that could probably fit almost any team if we paid closer attention. Pretty much every team and player seems to feel they’ve been wronged in some way. Laviolette with the French ref on 24/7 for example.

        As for Kesler, he’s constantly in a foul mood. That’s why he’s not captain but it’s also what gives him the edge that he needs to his game. Unfortunately people are talking about this and not how he made Datsyuk disappear last night because he chose to run his mouth.

        • I have to agree on this as well, I think the media has been setting up a narrative for the Canucks that portrays them as sof t whiners and divers. The bias during the Stanley Cup Final was brutal, particularly in the American media. Whatever, haters gonna hate.

          Kesler is still angry though, for sure. Can you really have a Beastmode if you’re not angry?

          • I think the Canucks have set up this narrative with minimal assistance from the media. The shoe just fits. Brian Burke summed up my feelings exactly about last years final. I wanted to root for the Canucks, but couldn’t after watching their antics. So I had to root for the Bruins? Yuck.

        • It’s really a very Vancouver thing; that team is loaded with whiners that a lot of teams have maybe one or two of. On the Canucks, pretty much all but one or two are classless bitchers.

  2. you dont have to stick up for yourself on a clean hit…

    • Sorry, whether it’s legal or not (I don’t think this was, considering how far off the ground he is and how averse this particular guy is to staying on the ice), taking runs like this at a guy serves two possible purposes

      1. Hurt him
      2. Intimidate and distract him

      In case 1, you expect retributiion. If Kronwall was a man, he would take it like a pro, because it comes with the territory (see John Scott’s Deryk England beatdown or various guys pounding Zac Rinaldo on various occasions).

      In case 2, all Kronwall demonstrated by hiding behind the ref when confronted by a skill player is that he’s yellow, which isn’t intimidating in the slightest, so what the Hell is he doing? Either you’re a badass or you’re a flower; you can’t be both at the same time. I’m an opposing coach, we dump it in Kronwall’s end all night and hammer him, get in his face after whistles (etc.) because he just put a sign on his forehead that says “I’m terrified of physical play”

  3. “you dont have to stick up for yourself on a clean hit…”

    Unfortunatly you do these days. But I agree you SHOULDN’T have to…. And Kronwell’s was clean to me. He left his feet maybe a bit but most of it was after contact. The Subban hit was an awesome thumper. Full credit to Marchand for continuing to breath never mind getting up and off the ice.

  4. suck it up and hit him back play the game or go play chess

  5. the bee sting lmfao that got me so good

  6. I still find it hard to believe what a whiny bunch of little bitches the entire Canucks team is. Shameless.

  7. I find it funny how the Canucks cry when they get hit as it’s a widely thought of around the league that they are the dirtiest team on ice.

  8. Jason Gregor asked an Oiler about the hit today, this is the following quote from Oilers Nation :)

    “I asked an unnamed Oiler about his thoughts on the Kronwall hit last night and if he thought it was cheap?

    Unnamed Oiler: I didn’t see it.

    Me: He crushed Kesler

    Oiler: It was on Kesler, well then I liked it and it was clean.”

    Link is here http://oilersnation.com/2011/12/22/gdb-340-dinner-with-strudwick

    Not trying to advertise or anything, just found it funny and fitting :P

  9. I will agree with Bieksa, it was so sneaky it was genius. Kronwall probably said “oh hey, look, Kesler is staring down the puck this entire time, why don’t rock him riiiiight NOW!” and then WAMMO! Kronwall is so sneaky as big as he is hitting people who are just looking down as they try to skate out of their own zone into the rush. Like seriously? Common, this is the league where everyone has been saying “oh no, not headshots, soon they’re gonna take hitting out” and now when a player gets hit there’s guys complaining it’s sneaky and dirty. This was the biggest whiney (substituted for a bad word) thing I might’ve ever seen from a Vancouver player(s)

  10. Canucks had a pretty good response to this one, I thought. First Kesler tried to fight Kronwall, which is different than the usual fight after a clean hit because A) the hit wasn’t 100% clean, he left his feet and B) it was the guy who was hit challenging the guy who hit him, and I have no problem with that – it’s when another guy comes in and starts beating on the guy without even letting him get his gloves off that there’s a problem. Now after the hit, the Canucks were obviously mad, so they went out and scored on the PP. Scratch that, they went out and ran the goalie on the PK and got a goal out of it. Why did that happen? Cause Kronwall wouldn’t fight, so they ran the goalie first chance they got. Then they took runs at Detroit players the rest of the game, which they won. That’s the correct response in my book and it’s in accordance with how hockey has always worked. Kronwall may have gotten Kesler and rawn the penalty, but he also hid behind the linesman and got his goalie run and some of his other guys like Filpulla and Zetterberg run, which would never have happened if he’d dropped the gloves.

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