Kukla's Korner Hockey
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…
from The Maven,
Best of all, instead of beefing as his counterpart, Bryan Murray, certainly would have, Carlyle refused to whine about the result or the zebras’ collective astigmatism….
Legal or not, the goal should not detract from the Senators comeback from the Land of Chokes.
They could have—should have—won Games One and Two but failed because of lethargy and lousy goaltending.
Ray Emery’s ineptitude could have killed them again in Game Three but…
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
If they don’t learn their lesson now, if the Ducks don’t take to heart their admission that they take too many needless penalties, they will look back in anger in a week or two from now as the Senators hoist the Stanley Cup.
It may be too late because Chris Pronger again blurred the line between aggression and stupidity when he dealt a vicious elbow to the head of Ottawa forward Dean McAmmond two minutes and three seconds into the third period, creating the possibility that he will be suspended for Game 4 on Monday….
The NHL takes a dim view on hits to the head, as evidenced by its decision to suspend Pronger for a game after the hit on Holmstrom. Pronger had tried to explain it as the inevitable consequence of a 6-foot-6 player hitting a 6-foot-1 opponent, but the league didn’t buy it.
Asked if he was concerned about facing disciplinary action again, Pronger became tight-lipped. “I don’t know,” he said.
more (reg. req.)
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
After all, when the all-star Ducks defenceman was suspended for his blindside head shot on Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom in the Western Conference final, he blamed the Canadian media for being banished from the series for a game.
Today, you have to figure Pronger’s conspiracy antennae will be on amber alert, given that he’ll be waking up this morning in the nation’s capital after his cheap shot elbow knocked out Dean McAmmond of the Senators in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final last night.
Good luck generating any sympathy this time.
Geez, he might even have to blame himself if, as is certainly possible, he gets suspended again and in so doing really helps the Senators get back into the best-of-seven series.
If you missed the hit on McAmmond….
Q. Randy, your view on the Alfredsson goal?
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: Well, obviously the league felt it wasn’t kicked in, simple as that. Sometimes those things go for you. Tonight it went against us. Obviously, we felt that there was a kicking motion from our point of view but I haven’t really reviewed the replay from a bunch of different angles. But that’s the way it is. They make the call and you have to live with it.
Q. Can you talk about what you felt the Senators did that maybe caused you guys some more trouble -
COACH RANDY CARLYLE: They outworked us, simple as that.
from Ken Campbell at the Hockey News,
But O’Halloran was overruled by NHL director of hockey operations Colin Campbell, who looked at the replays and ruled there was no distinct kicking motion.
“And that’s the whole key here,” said NHL vice-president Mike Murphy. “The key is Alfredsson directed the puck in, but there was no distinct kicking motion. The puck hits his skate and it goes toward the net, then there is movement of the foot.”
more on the game…
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