Canucks and Beyond

Playoff Hockey in March

03/13/2008 at 3:38pm EDT

[Updates below— because Pronger is really just “misunderstood” and “the nicest boy”...]
[Video now added at bottom]

Shockingly, the always-wholesome, sweet-natured, Lady Byng -worthy Chris Pronger has been accused of a nefarious act. From TSN:

Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger could face disciplinary action from the National Hockey League after stomping on Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler on Wednesday night.

The incident happened in the opening minute of the second period in Anaheim’s zone after a dump in from the blue line by Canucks defenceman Sami Salo.

Class act, that Pronger. But then, I shouldn’t really comment—the game was on Canucks PPV last night, and being the top-quality broadcast that it is, they provided no video of the incident. Tommy Larscheid had a verbal eruption while witnessing it from the broadcast booth, and then… nothing. But assuming the Ducks broadcast caught this on tape, there’s reason to believe Pronger might be in some trouble for once…

Also from TSN:

It also marks the second time this season that a player has stepped on an opponent while he was laying prone.

In December, New York Islanders forward Chris Simon received a 30-game suspension for trying to step on Pittsburgh forward Jarkko Ruutu’s foot.

Well, hell will freeze over before Chris Pronger gets a 30 game suspension for anything, but it’s fun to dream.

But for now… waiting on video.

Meanwhile, Mattias Ohlund is back in Vancouver and likely about to have surgery to remove those pesky bone chips from his knee, but it’s also possible he’ll be able to return in a few weeks.

Or so said Dave Nonis this morning (via Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun):

“It’s unlikely that they’re not going to perform surgery. More than likely he’ll be getting his knee cleaned up this afternoon. He will miss the remainder of the regular season and will be back for the post-season.”

It’s more good news than bad news. Vancouver has been the best AHL team in the NHL for most of this season. Losing Ohlund for a few weeks isn’t the worst thing they’ve had to overcome. While obviously not helpful, it is what it is. If he recovers for playoff time, hallelujah.

No. The biggest hurdle—the most dire, bizarre, freakish, unsettling matter facing the Canucks—is the continued absence of primary scoring power.

With the Sedins missing and the best line on the team frequently being Ryan Kesler, Alex Burrows and even Brad Isbister (yes, I’m including Isbister for a little glory here), it’s time to start making deals with God.

For years, we hear nothing but what a “one line team” the Canucks are. (So by that theory, I guess they’re currently a no-line team?)

Daniel Sedin - scoreless in 10 games
Henrik Sedin - 1 goal in 10 games
Markus Naslund - scoreless in 10 games
Taylor Pyatt - scoreless in 17 games

Taylor Pyatt’s looked pretty good at times, but the Sedins in particular sure haven’t. Hard working players, you’d normally just expect they’d work through it and that eventually, pucks would start going into the net. But this time I’m not so sure.

Either they’ve suddenly developed Jan Bulis Syndrome, or they’re playing through some never-ending, life-threatening illness.

On the bright side, Brendan Morrison—only two games back—looks very good. And the rookies seldom disappoint.

The playoff race is largely unaffected by the loss to Anaheim last night. Along with almost the entire NW Division, the Canucks continue to be only two points shy of 3rd place and 2 points out of 9th.

One game at a time, I’ll just have to keep watching with one eye closed and fingers crossed behind my back. All while making deals with the Devil in my spare time.

Playoff hockey in March. Gotta love it.

Update 11:05am PT— As Earl points out in the comments below, TSN changed their story as they got word that Pronger will not be facing any discipline:

Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger will not face any disciplinary action from the National Hockey League for stomping on Vancouver Canucks centre Ryan Kesler on Wednesday night.


Update 1:30pm PT— Video of incident, and apparently from Canucks TV, though I never saw it myself originally. Video quality fairly poor.

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