Habs' Laraque banned five games for hit on Kronwall Staff

11/24/2009 12:31:05 AM

The National Hockey League handed Montreal Canadiens tough guy Georges Laraque a five-game suspension for his knee-on-knee collision with Red Wings defenceman Niklas Kronwall on Saturday night.

Laraque had a chance to tell the league his side of the story at a hearing with league disciplinarian Colin Campbell earlier in the day. Laraque waived his right to an in-person hearing and instead of flying to New York, he spoke to Campbell over the phone.  Because the meeting was still considered an in-person hearing by the NHL, the league had the right to hand down five or more games.

Kronwall had to be helped from the ice following the hit and was not able to put any weight on his left knee.

The Red Wings expect Kronwall to miss at least a month of time after an MRI on Sunday revealed a significant sprain of the medial collateral ligament in Kronwall's left knee.

"There is no ACL damage and that's good news," Red Wings' general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit News.  "They are saying it's between a Grade 2 and a Grade 3 sprain; Grade 3 being the most severe. So he's out a month for sure and beyond that, it depends on how he heals."

Kronwall had his left knee surgically repaired in back in 2005.

Laraque, who stated that the collision was an accident, received a tripping minor on the play.

"There were four refs on the ice and they didn't call anything," Laraque told reporters following the game. "If they called a match penalty it would be different. There was no intent, there was no reason why I would try to go and hurt him. It was a pure accident, that's why they called it tripping, so I'm not worried at all."

Holland had a different interpretation of the play and is satisfied that the NHL will be reviewing the incident.

"The league called me (Saturday night)," Holland told the Detroit News. "Obviously, they are looking into it. They told me they saw the hit and they requested that I let them know the extent of Nik's injury."