February 17, 2011; Tampa FL, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Kronwall Strong Candidate For Vacant Wings Captaincy

The Lidstrom era is over.  Whether we like it or not, the old guard is out, and the next generation of Red Wings hockey is upon us.

After a string of consecutive early round playoff exits it is painfully obvious to see the Red Wings need an injection of new blood to bring about a climate change around the organization.

Quite simply, Detroit needs an attitude adjustment.

If the Red Wings wish to make a bold statement about the direction the hockey club is headed for the next decade no better tone could be set then to appoint hard hitting defenseman Niklas Kronwall the next Captain of the Detroit Red Wings.

You might wonder what makes Kronwall a suitable replacement for Nicklas Lidstrom? Why not Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk?

It’s simple; Kronwall brings something to the table that neither Zetterberg nor Datsyuk offers… a foreboding presence.

I am not suggesting that Datsyuk and Zetterberg don’t demand the attention of opponents.  It’s just a different kind of attention. Other teams are always aware when Datsyuk hops over the boards because there is always the potential that he will stickhandle around defenders embarrassing them with his skill.

May 8, 2011; San Jose, CA, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall (top) and San Jose Sharks right wing Ryane Clowe (29) collide during the second period of game five of the western conference semifinals of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Likewise, Zetterberg is a playmaker.  He can beat you one-on-one and snap it off the bar and in, or set up a teammate on a tic-tac-toe goal. No question, things happen when Z’s on the ice.

However, things also happen when Kronwall is on the ice, the waking up in the hospital after a bone crushing body-check sort of thing.  How many other players in the league have a nickname for their body-checks?  League wide everyone recognizes what getting “Kronwalled” refers to; it’s a term synonymous with the Red Wings and # 55 commands respect.

Yet, there is much more to Kronwall’s game than just his abrasiveness.  He’s a gifted offensive threat who will be in charge of quarterbacking the first power-play unit.  His 15 goals and 21 assists last season led all Wings defenders including Lidstrom.  In fact, I would argue that Kronwall has been the best Wings defenseman the last two postseasons.  He signed a 7-year contract last fall and at 31 years old is entering the prime of his career.

When considering the physical nature of the last two Stanley Cup Championship teams (L.A. and Boston), and the style of play in the NHL, stitching a “C” on Kronwall’s #55 jersey would be a definitive declaration to the rest of the league that a new attitude era has officially arrived in Hockeytown.

Tags: Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg NHL Niklas Kronwall Pavel Datsyuk

  • Mike

    I disagree and strongly think it will be Henrik Zetterberg. No disrespect to Kronwall, because I think he’s a fabulous defenseman and is going to be crucial to the Wings defensive success in upcoming seasons.

    I wrote a whole post at my blog about why it’ll be Z, and basically why it won’t be Kronwall is because at some point Kronwall is going to be disciplined for one of his hits. Whether it’s fair to do so or not is irrelevant. Eventually he’s going to be fined or suspended.

    I don’t think Detroit wants there to be a headline “Red Wings Captain Suspended for Hit” and frankly I don’t want that headline either. Equally so, I don’t want Kronwall to play any less physical of a game than he does. I want him to continue to Kronwall people and throw heavy body checks.

    I think it’s better for Z to be captain and for Kronner to retain the A on his jersey.

    • Jordan Hoy

      Don`t disagree that Zetterberg would make a good captain! I might be wrong but I don`t think Kronwall has ever been suspended for a hit. So, I`m not sure that is much of a concern. He plays on the edge for sure, but doesn`t cross the line in my opinion. My thought was that Kronwall offers something a little different than Zetterberg as captain. Just sets a new tone for the team. Kind of in the same vain as when Scott Stevens led the Devils. Either way the team will be in good hands…

  • jecaron

    Kronwall has never been suspended.. but i do agree with Jordan on some points.. I love Dats and Zet but my only concern is are these guys to quite.. both great sportsmanship etc which yzerman was as well but i think we need to bring in the crash cart and get some fire burning again.. I think it will be Zet when all is said and done but we do need a mental boost..