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Niklas Kronwall disagrees with Game 7 suspension, but accepts it (Puck Daddy)

TAMPA – Niklas Kronwall stayed on the ice long after his teammates Wednesday morning. He knew he couldn’t play Wednesday night in Game 7 of the Detroit Red Wings’ first-round playoff series with the Tampa Bay Lightning because of his suspension for charging Nikita Kucherov. But he hoped they’d win without him, and he wanted to be ready to play Friday night in Game 1 of the second round against the Montreal Canadiens. “It’s hard to describe, really,” Kronwall said. “I still don’t really know how to feel, to be honest with you. I still haven’t really grasped it, I think. You know, the decision has been made, and I’ve got to live with it.” Kronwall obviously disagreed with the decision. He had been throwing similar hits for years – though not as often recently, because, he said, opponents were more aware and there were fewer opportunities. He had never been fined before, let alone suspended. When he hit Kucherov on Monday night in Game 6, it was different than when he hit, say, the Philadelphia Flyers’ Jakub Voracek in March 2012 – as the department of player safety pointed out in the suspension video. He didn’t turn his back into the hit as well. He didn’t make full body contact as well. On that, he agreed. Still, he didn’t feel this hit rose to the level of supplemental discipline. There was no penalty. He said he didn’t think he traveled far, didn’t think both feet left the ice before impact and didn’t think he launched himself into Kucherov. (He didn’t mention anything about hitting Kucherov in the head.) “I feel like it happened a little bit different way than what they feel,” Kronwall said. “But that’s how it is.” Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg said he disagreed and saw “a little inconsistency” with how the DPS had handled incidents not only in this series, but from year to year. Wings coach Mike Babcock – who also will be without defenseman Marek Zidlicky facing elimination – showed his displeasure by saying: “I think if I talk about Game 7, I won’t get fined.” The best comment, though, might have been this: “I did something to put them in a situation where they could make the final call,” Kronwall said. “So any way you look at it, that’s on me.” The NHL has been cracking down on hits to the head for years now. Even if you think the department of player safety is incompetent and inconsistent, if you hit an opponent in the head, you take a risk. It’s not only that you will hurt your opponent, but that you will hurt your team with a penalty or suspension.   This hurt the Wings at a very bad time. All Kronwall can do is watch and try to stay positive. “I think at this point it’s all about looking forward to tonight,” Kronwall said. “They know the situation. They know where we’re at. It’s Game 7. Go out and enjoy it. Don’t think too much about this. We don’t want this to be a distraction. It is what it is. Go out and have fun.” MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS