Saturday, March 15, 2008


Update: I just read Deadspin's NHL Closer on the subject and [while I generally think he's got a good grasp] couldn't agree less with Wyshynski's conclusions on the subject. His (non) smoking bullet is that Pronger is "looking up ice" at the time. Bullshit! Pronger is turning, but is clearly aware of where his stomping skate is going (and he's looking at the leg as he does it)...Regardless, this isn't deep-snow hiking, you don't have to stomp the ice off of your boots when you're playing in an NHL arena.

We all know that Bettman sucks. It's been proven time and again, but the events that have transpired with Chris Pronger this week bring Bettman's reign of terror to a new low. For those of you not in the know, Pronger skate-stomped Justin Kesler's leg during the second period of the Vancover/Ducks game on Wednesday night.

Bettman's lap poodle, Colin Campbell, "reviewed" the data (which, knowing this fucking league required him to see "Chris Pronger" as the subject and dismiss out of hand, since Pronger is a "superstar") and decided to not pass down any suspension. Now here's the thing, the original [public] video from Thursday morning didn't focus on the event and it was hard to be sure that Pronger got calf (you can see he tries, but let's say that it wasn't 100% conclusive). However, sometime Thursday evening (after the league handed down the non-suspension), a new video was released (my understanding is that it was TSN that first showed this video and has been covering this a lot since Thursday):

This video seems to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Now a lot of people are calling for a suspension that is on par with Chris Simon's 30 games for his Ruutu-stomp. This is not the same. Pronger is a dirty-as-shit player, who deserves anything he gets (I love the fact that he's got a broken jaw), but this incident is different in at least two ways: 1. Pronger has never done a Simonesque two-hander to the head of an opponent. He hits with his elbows up. He aims to injure. But there's a difference between headhunting and playing baseball. 2. Simon did it away from the play, as both players were skating to the bench. He purposefully moved Ruutu's leg so he would be able to stomp on it, with the intent to break Ruutu's leg. Pronger got tied up with Kesler and stomped him in the "heat of the moment."

Simon got 30 games. I think Pronger deserves at the very least 10-15 games. 20 would probably be justified based on his repeat-offender status and known goonishness throughout the league.

According to TSN the league is re-reviewing this incident, which brings us to another point. The league made a decision on Thursday morning. Did they have the second video angle and ignored it? Or did they not have it, meaning that they made a decision without having all the evidence on hand? The optimist in me wants to say that they just pulled the trigger quick, without getting all the evidence. They just wanted to handle this quickly and did it in a non-professional manner. The cynic in me believes that they had this video and chose to ignore it because it is Pronger. They're only re-reviewing because of the public outcry. Look for a couple of minutes at the comments on the TSN story...I bet that less than 1% of the people support the league or Pronger in this case. And this is Canada - the bread and butter of the NHL's support.

I've just one little comment: FUCK GARY BETTMAN. He's done nothing but consistently ruin this sport that we love so.

Even though Jeff thinks that the Sabres are going to be playing golf in a few weeks, I still am holding out hope. They won 7-1 last night against the fucking 'Canes. They're only 2 points away from 8th. Here's the thing that is so goddamn fucking frustrating: Inconsistency. They lose 7-3, then they come back and win 7-1. They'll play excellent hockey (it looks like last night's game was quite good), and then they'll do fuck-all. I have a bad feeling about tonight's game in Toronto. If they miss the playoffs it'll be because of this inconsistency. They have the skill, they have the speed, but they just don't manage to play the same game every night.



Jeff K said...

The Simon stomp was flagrant and premeditated; Pronger's was reckless and stupid. I agree that Pronger should definitely get a few games off (5-10).

Clearly, the NHL is unable or unwilling to properly punish these players, to the overall detriment of the league. I don't know what the answer is, but a zero tolerance policy would be nice. Why is Simon even allowed to play anymore?

Jeff K said...

Oh, and Bettman sucks.

Kris said...

You just hate Simon because he beat up on Clarkson the other night.

No, I think that you can't compare the Pronger stomp to that of Simon, in the same way that 1st degree manslaughters isn't 1st degree murder.