With poor quality video as evidence, Anaheim Ducks captain Chris Pronger escaped punishment from the National Hockey League after apparently stomping on Vancouver centre Ryan Kesler in a game on Wednesday night.
But a clearer version of the video revealed late Thursday - with a better look at the incident - raises the question of whether or not the star defenceman should be implicated.
Cleaned up and much clearer than what was available online yesterday, here’s the video TSN is now highlighting:
I’d already conceded in both this post and on the new podcast recorded last night, that the NHL probably couldn’t have suspended Pronger based on the video evidence that we saw before. But perhaps TSN’s video should reopen that debate.
Number one, the new video is definitely clearer and you see Pronger looking down on Kesler before putting his skate on his calf. Number two, intent is never an easy thing to judge, which is why I think professional sports should discipline players based on their actions. Of course no one intends to hurt another player on purpose, but, intentionally or not, they do sometimes, right? They do the crime, they do the time.
It would be nice if the NHL would at least clarify their position as to “why” they didn’t drop a suspension on Pronger, now that we’ve all seen this. Intent is not the point - it’s the action. He makes a choice to stomp Kesler, whether he intends to injure him or not. Anyone else would be suspended.
Assuming there’s a legit reason Pronger’s off the hook, I just want to understand what that might be.
Update 11:01am PT:
Per NHL Live, it’s been announced that Chris Pronger does have a hearing this afternoon before the NHL, regarding this incident. More later.
Update 1:45pm PT:
Some words from Chris Simon today in the Star Tribune:
“I don’t know what other people are thinking,” Simon said after practice Friday. “It would be nice to have things treated fairly. I don’t think in that instance it’s fair at all. I couldn’t believe the way that nothing was going to be done about it. I still can’t believe that.”
Simon got his suspension back in December when he was playing for the New York Islanders. The Pronger incident happened Wednesday.
Simon said he watched the much-seen video of that incident. He said clearly shows Pronger stomping on Kesler’s leg. “The tape is self-explanatory,” Simon said after practice Friday. “It shows what he did.”
Simon is first among active players with eight career suspensions. Pronger is second with seven.
Asked if he was frustrated by the apparent disparity, Simon said no.
“It’s more disappointing that I can get the amount of games that I get and the player never misses a shift, and other players can hurt players,” Simon said, referring to Pronger’s hit in the playoffs. “And then the same thing, if not twice, happens in the Vancouver-Anaheim game and there is not even a review. It is decided there is no suspension.”
Colin Campbell, the NHL’s senior executive vice president, did not immediately reply to an email request for comment.
Simon is not saying he didn’t deserve the suspension he got, only that he’d like to see other players treated the same way.
“The proof is there, the evidence is there,” Simon said. “Everybody sees it, but nothing gets done.”
Simon was asked if Pronger’s high-profile status might have something to do with the league’s decision. “That’s the way it seems. I think you guys can decide for yourselves. That’s all I can say.”
At the time of Simon’s comments, he may not have been aware of the pending review this afternoon.
And more on that later.
Pronger and the Ducks were under the impression that no action would be taken as initial replays did not reveal a close up look at the play.
Pronger found out the play was under review on Friday morning. He met with reporters after the club’s morning skate and said he won’t comment until the process unfolds.
“I can’t really comment on anything to do with the play because it’s under review,” Pronger said.
Pronger said he had not seen replays of the video. He said he was taken aback to find out it was being reviewed again.
“Yeah, I was a little surprised,” he said.
Coach Randy Carlyle watched the video Friday morning. Asked if it changed his opinion of the incident, he said “There are factors that go into it on both sides. I’m not here to comment on it.”
No word about any results of that review at this time.
Update 3:42pm PT: Team 1040 in Vancouver is reporting that Pronger has now been suspended. Details to come.
Their statement is that he is “reportedly” facing a
, but his conversation with the NHL will be later this evening so that isn’t confirmed.
Update 6:15pm PT:
A quote from NHL spokesman Frank Brown, to Canwest (via the National Post):
“If supplementary discipline is deemed warranted, it is announced before the offending player’s team plays its next game,” NHL spokesman Frank Brown said in an e-mail to Canwest News Service on Friday afternoon. “Anaheim plays its next game tomorrow (Saturday) night.”
Aside from speculation (such as the 10 games mentioned earlier, and likely sourced with Darren Dreger of TSN, as far as I can tell) there is no firm indication whatsoever what the suspension will be, only the suggestion that it is currently “indefinite.” If the information is made available Friday night, it will be added to this post.
Update 7:07pm PT:
TSN’s habit of changing the content of a story at the same link provides this update:
But a clearer version of the video revealed late Thursday - with a better look at the incident - has the NHL is looking into it again. A phone hearing is scheduled for Saturday and a suspension will likely result.