Chris Pronger’s crime and punishment continue to be the talk of town today. Pronger was handed a one game suspension for the vicious elbow that knocked McAmmond unconscious Saturday night. McAmmond probably won’t play tonight. Was the suspension enough? Should there have been a suspension at all?
Within Ottawa city limits, the latter question isn’t even being considered. But some people in the so-called neutral, objective media are suggesting he should have been given a mulligan because of his height. This is a ridiculous argument. NHL Players are permitted to play with bricks strapped to their elbow. They call them elbow pads but don’t be fooled. They’re bricks. If a tall player genuinely cannot be faulted smashing these bricks into people’s heads on the grounds that he’s tall, then tall players should be deemed a menace and banned from the game.
However, I do use Pronger’s height as an excuse for why no call was made on the ice. I didn’t see Pronger’s elbow fly out and catch McAmmond. Not live, anyway. Until the replay, both the Team and CBC referred to the hit as interference. Most blatant plays like that involve the elbow flying upward. Because of Pronger’s height, he was able to maim without doing that. So it didn’t look like much in real time.
The one game suspension isn’t enough but it was what I expected from the league. They work under the assumption that not all games are created equal. Pronger’s removal from a game in the final does more to hurt the Ducks’ Stanley Cup chances than a 20 game regular season ban. Having said that, I’d love to see them fine Pronger the equivalent of 20 regular season games in pay. One game, zero fine still doesn’t seem right. Pronger has been obnoxious on and off the ice for a long time now. It comforts me that guys like that eventually get theirs, above and beyond anything the NHL decides.
I still cannot believe one TV analyst who called the punishment severe enough because Pronger is an MVP who plays 35 minutes per game. What does that have to do with anything? You want softer laws for the talented? Sheesh. OJ Simpson called. He wants to know if you'll be his friend.
For Sens fans, the silver lining in the incident might be this - not only does it yank a former MVP out of the Ducks’ lineup, it also could rally the Senator troops, not unlike the Sens’ reaction after Colby Armstrong put Patrick Eaves to sleep in round one.