Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Niklas Kronwall Dual Jersey Card

(As per years past, this is a twin-post with my "regular" blog, where I predicted the Detroit Red Wings would finish seventh in the Atlantic Division in 2019-20).

One of the hardest hitters of all time took his final bow today, as Niklas Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings announced his retirement.

He was only suspended once (for a single playoff game, but a Game 7, see the second hit, on the Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov, in the video below) in his 15-year NHL career, which means that the league deemed the rest of his crushing hits (dubbed "Getting Kronwalled") legal. Which they were. Take a look:

At 6' and 195 pounds, he was fairly small for a defenseman drafted in 2000 (29th overall), but it fit his style perfectly, as it enabled him to check opponents right in the middle of the chest - exactly where it's ok to hit, where they should see you coming - usually skating backwards toward them so as to ensure he hits them with his back or shoulder, making certain his elbow stays low and to avoid head contact.

But let's not forget he was also way more than that. He had a booming shot and was a fast and smooth skater, too.

He had a few 40-point seasons (with a high of 51 in 2008-09, leading the Wings to a second straight Stanley Cup Final, following the 2008 Cup win) and wore the "A" as the team's alternate captain. He also won Olympic gold (2006) and silver (2016) and World Championship gold (2006) and silver (2003) medals with Team Sweden. With Henrik Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson, he's part of the trio of special players who own the distinction of having acquired the Triple Gold title the fastest - in just over two years' time.

He will now be an assistant to the team's new GM, Steve Yzerman.

Here he is wearing the team,s white (away) uniform, on card #DET-NK from Upper Deck's 2011-12 Black Diamond set and Double Diamond Jerseys sub-set:
It features two game-worn jersey swatches that could be from either the home or away uniform, as one is white and the other is red.

Thank you for your time, sir; you will be missed, but you will also be remembered. Best of luck in your new career.

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