... Why don't I remember that? Do you remember the opponent by any chance? It's going to bug me all day that I didn't remember that he had an A for a short time.
No, sorry. It was at some point when at least two of Draper, Datsyuk and Zetterberg were injured. Sometime around mid-season(?).
• If you didn’t notice, toward the end of the season, when both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg missed time with injuries, the Wings stuck an alternate captain’s “A” on Niklas Kronwall’s jersey (or an “alternate captain’s ‘A’ on Niklas Kronwall’s sweater,” depending on your terminology preferences), and the Free Press’s Helene St. James found that Kronwall earned a de-facto promotion:
“I think he took a huge step this year,” forward Todd Bertuzzi said. “I think as far as leadership, he’s gotten a lot more respect. Guys listen to him. He’s got an opinion, and his opinion is usually a good one. He’s a guy who’ll speak up, and that’s what you need from guys. He’s kind of like the second coming after whenever Nick decides to move on. He’s a perfect guy to come in and fill that role.”
“Obviously Kronner is an elite player,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We play him in the three, or in the fourth or five-six-hole, but I mean really, with his age, he’s probably our best guy in lots of ways.”
Kronwall finished the Coyotes series leading the team with 13 hits and in average minutes played at 22:24, and second with eight blocked shots. He had two assists in Game 3. That’s the stuff the Wings have come to expect from him, though. He can be used against opposing top lines. He’s a point man on the second power-play unit, and a go-to guy on the penalty kill, especially when the Wings are down two skaters. He keeps opponents on their toes because they never know when he might upend them with a bone-rattling hit. It’s only because his teammates include Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski that Kronwall is considered the No. 3 D-man on the team, because to the Wings, Kronwall is a guy who does it all.
Kronwall’s partner, Salei, said Kronwall “has made me a better player.” His coach, Babcock, said Kronwall “is the guy in our organization that has to come to the forefront here. He is capable of playing the most minutes—power play, penalty kill, even strength—can be the most active. He’s a physical guy who can really make plays. We think he’s an elite player. He’ll get more opportunity as his career goes on here, when Nick and Rafi decide to hang things up, offensively, but in the meantime he’s been excellent for us. He’s a leader on our team, he’s vocal on the bench. He’s an important guy for us.”
“He’s taken a little more responsibility in that area, saying what needs to be said on the bench,” former partner Brad Stuart said. “If we’re falling asleep a little bit on the bench, he’ll speak up and get us going. It’s good to see.”
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