Friday, March 14, 2008

Who's a dirtier player than Chris Simon?

My vote goes to Chris Pronger of the Anaheim Ducks.

In case you have been living under a rock, or you just didn't watch SportsCentre, Pronger stomped on Ryan Kesler's leg in Wednesday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks. It was very reminiscent of Chris Simon's stomp on Jarkko Ruutu's leg in December, except there is one teeny, tiny, microscopic difference.

Simon was suspended for 30 games. Pronger gets nothing.

Now, when I look at the video of the incident, I see Pronger look down at Kesler and try to stomp on Kesler's leg twice, catching him the second time. There is a point where Pronger's skate makes contact with Kesler's calf, lingers there, and then pushes it away as he skates off.

If you look carefully, Pronger is looking down towards the ice. He's not looking down the ice. His attention is directed towards his feet, or very close to them, so he must have known that Kesler's leg was there. Some argue that he was simply trying to untangle himself, but I don't believe it.

Now, the reason why I say that Pronger is dirtier than Simon is because of his 'superstar' status in the NHL. He is one of the best defencemen in the League and he is a future Hall of Famer. Simon is not - not in the least. While Pronger has a reputation of being dirty, with 7 suspensions to his name (including 2 during last year's playoffs), he will not receive the same type of scrutiny that Simon faces and he will not receive the same punishment.

Is there a chance that Pronger will not 'think twice' next time because the consequences are minimal? Yeah.

Will Pronger be given chance after chance after 245th chance simply because of his status? Will coaches, GMs, officials, and the NHL turn a blind eye because, at the end of the day, Pronger is a superstar who sells tickets? For sure, and because of that, more players will be hurt due to his absolute lack of respect.

After the Simon incident in December, we all wondered what would happen if 'a Chris Pronger' had done something like that.

Well, now we know what would happen.


I think the only way the NHL would care would be if the victim was not Kesler, but rather one of the biggest names in the game, someone bigger than Pronger - like Crosby or Ovechkin. But it shouldn't be that way.

The NHL has decided that they will not suspend Pronger, but I say we raise hell and call for a suspension anyway. They probably won't do it, but in light of the recent video that shows the incident more clearly (the one above, which was not made available until last night - after the NHL's ruling), perhaps the League will pay more attention to Pronger's activities on the ice and act accordingly the next time something like this happens, and believe me, it will happen.


Stoosh said...

Kesler's had a rough go of it this year. I think he was the guy who got cross-checked in the face when the Canucks played the Flyers earlier this year...I can't remember.

I think it's BS that Pronger doesn't get SOMETHING for this incident, because he even appears to almost twist his foot to keep in on Kesler's leg right before pushing off...right at about the 0:39-0:40 mark of the clip. I know Kesler's leg was still moving, but still.

Pronger's been a punk since he first broke into the league. He whined his way out of two cities - Hartford when he was a kid, and then Edmonton. He's had more than a few stick-swinging incidents as well, which you'd think a player would realize is a big no-no around the time they leave juniors.

He's a punk, and I'm sure having Burke backing his every move doesn't help matters either, seeing as Burke usually comes across as someone who thinks he invented hockey.

Wait until the playoffs...hopefully karma will rear its head and Pronger does something stupid, gets himself suspended and ends up costing his team a playoff series.

Ashley said...

I forgot about that Stoosh - Kesler WAS the one who was cross checked by Jesse Boulerice last fall. He's really, really lucky that he wasn't hurt in that incident or this one.

Something just has to happen at some point with Pronger. The NHL cannot ignore this crap forever. At some point, they are going to have to have enough guts to really suspend him for a good, long time - no matter what Burke says.

I, too, would like to see Anaheim lose a playoff series due to a really stupid act from Pronger, as long as he doesn't hurt anyone. So many people are predicting that the Ducks will repeat as Cup winners, but I'd rather see them get knocked out of the first round. Burke is funny to watch when he's being interviewed because he always looks cranky, but he does act like he thinks he's Gary's gift to hockey. And after everything Pronger has done in recent years...a nice upset is in order. Perhaps to San Jose? I'd like to see Joe Thornton do well in the playoffs.

Stoosh said...

Ashley - I'd just like to see Anaheim lose a playoff series, period. First, obviously, is that other than Detroit, I think they're the only other team I'd really hate to see the Pens play in the playoffs.

I like Burke because he's candid and everything, but I've read and heard him do some interviews and he makes it sound like his job asks him to solve world peace or something.

Good call on San Jose...I'd like to see them do well in the playoffs this year (they're a good example of just how tough it is to succeed in the playoffs).

Just looking at the Western Conference standings. Phoenix is only three points out of the playoffs at the 10th seed and Nashville is two points out in the 9th seed. Unreal. After Nashville's roster purge last summer and Phoenix's supposed rebuilding project, I never would have figured those two teams would be in it this late. I'm hoping Calgary and Vancouver hold on, though.

Ashley said...

It would be unreal if Phoenix made the playoffs. I'm kind of cheering for them a little bit, since they're the underdog in the West, but I don't want to see them squeak in at the expense of the Canucks or the Flames.

You can definitely say that Burke is candid, for sure haha. He does a TON of interviews with TSN because he worked for them during the lockout, and he always has his serious, non-smiling face on. He always makes these comments about the questions he's asked (like, "Well, that's a stupid question," etc) and I'm not quite sure if he's joking or serious.

I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this, but something else that I didn't quite like was his response to the whole Dustin Penner incident last summer. He acted like it was the end of the world. You would've thought that Kevin Lowe had done something really heinous, but I honestly don't have a problem with what Lowe did. It seems like nobody wants to go to Edmonton (see Nylander, Michael) and he had to do something. Signing an RFA to an offer sheet was well within his rights, and he saw the long-term upside to Penner (and Vanek) that made them worth the money.

Burke's always crying that something done on the ice wasn't against the rules, therefore there shouldn't be a penalty/suspension. Well, the offer sheet wasn't against the rules, either, so there should be minimal complaining.