Kukla's Korner Hockey
From the CP via CBC,
It might be time to turn out the lights on the Ottawa Senators’ dream season.
Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs have ever erased a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup final and these Senators don’t have the look of a team about to join them in the history books. Ottawa thoroughly outplayed Anaheim in the first period of Game 4 on Monday night before going completely flat in a 3-2 loss. “It’s hard to explain,” said forward Mike Fisher. Indeed, none of the Senators seemed to have any explanation for what had just happened.
from the CP via TSN,
Chris Pronger a backstabber? Corey Perry a headhunter? Chris Neil a villain? Dean McAmmond a faker?
Accusations and insinuations ruled the day Monday following Pronger’s one-game suspension for a shot to McAmmond’s head in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.
The most heated talk was from Neil, the feisty Ottawa Senators winger who was accused by Anaheim GM Brian Burke of trying to take Ducks forward Andy McDonald’s head off with an elbow. McDonald was not hurt on the play.
I learned something this morning while glancing at page 4 of the LA Times Sports section: not only is hockey still played professionally but the team from Anaheim is actually in the Stanley Cup Finals. Who knew? And the game is on NBC tonight.
I don’t know a single guy who plays for the Ducks (apparently they dropped the “Mighty” from their official name) but I’m going to watch. Hopefully a lot of other people will too, because hockey really deserves more respect than it’s currently getting….
Why the Times can’t give a (sort of) local team that is 2 wins away from the championship better coverage than page 4 is also a mystery (but just one of many mysteries at the Times). [Note: below the fold on page 1 of the sports page thee is a column about a guy named Pronger who plays for the Ducks, but the actual series coverage is buried on Page 4.]
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Niedermayer and Beauchemin will probably both approach 35 minutes in ice-time, about five minutes more than what Niedermayer is accustomed to, while O’Donnell will be well into the 20s. But at this point in the season, Carlyle is not worried about wearing anyone out.
“I would liken it to putting all the bullets in the gun,” Carlyle said. “You can’t put any in the holster at this time. There’s four games left in the series. That’s four games left in the season and you’re going to utilize all the personnel you see fit.
“Are you going to worry about overusing someone? You worry about tonight.”
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
They call it playing on the edge.
But it’s getting awfully close to slitting their own throats.
The Ducks have now received three suspensions in these playoffs – two to Pronger and one to winger Brad May. They’ve had to defend against 5-on-3 situations on 13 occasions, including three in this series, and have had only one such advantage themselves. They’ve been short-handed 18 times in the Cup final while enjoying 11 power plays.
If the Ducks don’t win the Stanley Cup it won’t be because they weren’t good enough.
It will be because they threw it all away to prove they’re the meanest SOBs on the block.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
No one in the Anaheim Ducks dressing room will utter a disparaging word against Pronger. The man, on many nights, is a machine. He is averaging more than 30 minutes of ice time a game in these playoffs. He is second among NHL defensemen with 14 playoff points.
And yet for the second time in recent days, he has put his team in the unenviable position of having to play without him because he seems to have switched off that common-sense detector most humans rely on to prevent them from crossing “the line.”
On some level in that dressing room, players must be asking where Pronger’s selflessness is. Having been suspended once, Pronger surely had to know any other transgression was going to be viewed with disapproval by the league regardless whether it was as serious as the Holmstrom hit.
Q. How much different does it make your decision or more difficult to suspend a key player in a Stanley Cup Final game even as opposed to the Pronger suspension last round?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, both rounds are difficult; you’re getting it close, but obviously the final round is a very difficult round to take any player out of, and there’s no prescribed or defined degree of change as far as the act to suspend players in the final round.
I suspended two players in the past. (Ville) Nieminen in the Calgary-Tampa Bay series for hitting (Vincent) Lecavalier and (Jiri) Fischer in the Detroit-Carolina series for a cross-check, each for one game.
It’s always difficult for everyone involved in hockey. We all know how precious it is to chase the Stanley Cup and to be at this point. And it’s a tough decision to make. We don’t take these things lightly at any time; we don’t take them lightly, but particularly now.
So it was hard. But on the other hand, a player did get knocked out. And that player may not be playing tomorrow night, too. We’re not sure.
“It was just a reaction play. I just stepped up to make a hit,” Pronger told reporters. “You’ve got to suffer the consequences of what came down. ... Hopefully, Dean’s OK. There’s no ill-will or malicious intent.”
While Ducks general manager Brian Burke said he would accept the Pronger suspension, he was livid over a Chris Neil hit to Ducks forward Andy McDonald. Burke said there should have been a second hearing on Sunday.
“We’re not a dirty team, we’re a physical team,” Burke said. “There’s a big difference.”
“We think it was totally unintentional. The league thought different,” Carlyle said. “Chris Pronger is a competitive player. Some people will say he’s using his size as an excuse.
“The fact of the matter is his elbows are higher than most people’s elbows. It’s not like he raised his elbow to deliver a blow to the head.”
added 3:35pm, Transcript of inteview with Pronger, Carlyle and Burke…
The NHL has come down on the Ducks’ Chris Pronger for the second time in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs.
The league has suspended Pronger for one game for a shot to the head Ottawa Senators’ Dean McAmmond during Game 3 on Saturday.
Pronger had a hearing with the NHL’s director of hockey operations Colin Campbell on Sunday.
“A variety of factors were considered in reaching this decision,” said NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. “Mr. Pronger used his forearm to deliver a forceful hit to the head of his opponent. Also, his actions caused injury to his opponent.”
added 2:58pm, The Ottawa Senators P.R. department put together some quotes from those involved on the Sens side…
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