Anaheim accused Tomas Holmstrom of delivering a dirty elbow to the head of James Wisniewski after he had been injured by a puck to the chest Tuesday in Game 3. They said Johan Franzen cross-checked Scott Niedermayer in the back of the neck.
The Red Wings’ response essentially was this: Quit your whining.
“From my perspective, come on, it’s like a rodeo after every whistle,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “So there could be a penalty after every single whistle. If you think Homer was saying, ‘That guy got hurt on the play and now I’m going to elbow him in the head?’ Come on. That’s not how hockey is.
“Let’s play the game, let’s play hard. It’s a hard series. There’s lots of skin flying around out there. It’s entertaining.”
Wisniewski might not play tonight in Game 4 because of a lung contusion, which Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said wasn’t helped by Holmstrom’s hit during the same sequence in the second period.
“What would you think if you were (doubled) over and gasping for air and somebody gives you an elbow to the side of the head?” Carlyle said. “How would you feel about that?”
Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney said the hit “looked dirty.”
“I don’t know if he meant to do it, but he comes around and smokes him in the face with his elbow,” Whitney said. “It definitely wasn’t a clean blow.”
Holmstrom said it wasn’t intentional.
“I didn’t know that I hit him at all,” he said. “I didn’t see him, I had no idea he was behind me. I had two guys on my back. Unfortunately, he had his face there.”
Niedermayer said of Franzen’s cross-check: “I don’t think it’s legal. Is it out of the norm? I don’t know.”
Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart said those kind of plays happen all the time in an intense series.
“First shift, second period, (Ryan) Carter smashed my head against the boards. No call,” Stuart said. “To sit here and whine about it doesn’t do any good. Both teams are getting away with stuff. That’s how it is.”
Said Detroit’s Dan Cleary: “All the extra stuff — the elbows, the cross-checks — they’re no strangers to that either.”