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Niklas Kronwall to have NHL hearing for Nikita Kucherov hit

04/28/2015 10:29 EDT | Updated 08/01/2015 06:59 EDT
​The Detroit Red Wings could be minus their most experienced defenceman for Wednesday's winner-take-all Game 7 in Tampa Bay (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7:30 p.m. ET).

Niklas Kronwall, who has played 104 Stanley Cup playoff games, will have a hearing Tuesday afternoon with the NHL's department of player safety on the grounds of "charging/illegal check to the head" for his hit on Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov with a minute left in the second period of a 5-2 Tampa victory on Monday night.

Kronwall, with two assists and a minus-1 rating in the series, appeared to leave his feet before making the hit and then delivered an elbow or forearm to Kucherov's chin as he made contact.

Kronwall, 34, wasn't penalized on the play while Kucherov, who had three assists to give him four points in the series, played nearly five minutes in the third period.

"I thought it was a clean hit," Kronwall told reporters after the game.

Kucherov, coming off a 29-goal, 65-point regular season, didn't make a major stink about the hit following the game.

"It's a hit," the 21-year-old Russian said. "He made a hit. I'm not going to cry now. It's part of the game."

Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said he didn't see Kronwall's hit.

"The refs didn't call a penalty, so it must've been OK."

In March 2012, Kronwall avoided suspension following a shoulder check on Philadelphia's Jakub Voracek.

Forward Justin Abdelkader was the last Red Wings player barred from a playoff game, missing Games 4 and 5 of a first-round series against Anaheim in 2013 for putting his shoulder into the head of Ducks defenceman Toni Lydman.

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