Niklas Kronwall is taken off the ice on a stretcher Thursday night. (Chris Schneider / Associated Press)
Glendale, Ariz. — As bad it looked, it didn’t turn out worse.
Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall suffered a mild concussion after being slammed into the end boards by Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod on Thursday.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said Friday that Kronwall is day-to-day.
“He’s not ruled out yet,” Holland said of tonight’s game in Phoenix.
Kronwall was hurt at 2 minutes, 13 seconds of the second period of Thursday’s victory. He was skating back to retrieve a puck when McLeod checked Kronwall into the boards. Kronwall’s head hit the area between the glass and dasherboards.
Replays showed Kronwall did put himself slightly into a vulnerable position by turning. But, McLeod also had a responsibility on the play.
“When you carry a lot of speed in on the forecheck, you have to be responsible for what you’re doing,” Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. “Especially when you carry a lot of speed.”
Kronwall was on the ice for a short time, and eventually carried off on a stretcher.
“Just awful,” Alfredsson said. “You’re always worried about the neck and back and but we saw him move and tried to get himself up. That’s a good sign.”
Kronwall was answering the doctor’s questions, alert and responsive, shortly afterward in the Red Wings locker room.
“He seemed fine,” Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said. “It was scary. He was out. He didn’t know what happened. But we found out pretty early he was fine and was going to recover.”
McLeod received a game misconduct and boarding major. A disciplinary hearing with the NHL is expected.
Beginning to jell
The Red Wings have won four straight after an emotionless loss to the Coyotes.
“I find they’re a very composed group,” Alfredsson said of his new teammates. “Some have been together for a long time. Now there is a transition. Quite a few young guys coming up, me and (Stephen) Weiss are coming in, so there are some changes.
“In the beginning we didn’t really find our game. Lately, special teams have been real good for us. It’s been nice to see the development.”
Mule starting to kick
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has noticed a difference lately in Johan Franzen, who scored his first two goals of the season Thursday.
“The Mule was great the last three games in a row,” Babcock said. “His size down low, his skating ... he’s been fantastic.”