Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pronger suspended for G4

Quite a conversation we've got going in the previous drinky post (apologies for the language and hyperbole) on comparative fanbases, so I thought I'd create a quick post for people to talk about the other big news: Chris Pronger being suspended one game for his head-first board of Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom (assist: Rob Niedermayer).

Here's the hit, by the way.

Many issues here:
a) What do you think about the length of the suspension? Too much, not enough, or just right? (BTW: Read Matt's post at BoA for a really good perspective on suspensions in general.)
b) What do you think this means for the rest of the series? Can the Ducks negotiate a home game without the big blueliner, or does this pretty much cost Anaheim the series?
c) Given the outcome of last night's game, does it even matter?

So, Pronger suspension comments here, fanbase comments on the other post. Go nuts.


Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and not to take away anyone's steam, but I'm probably more interested in hearing what non-Red-Wing, non-Duck fans have to say more than just the participants' fans.

But I'll take anyone's 2 cents.

Dirk Hoag said...

Honestly, I think the Ducks have a perfectly good chance of winning Game Four without Pronger - they're incredibly deep on the blue line, and if they keep their composure, they can certainly play with Detroit. If they win G4 and head back to Motown tied at 2 with Pronger returning, they'll have plenty of confidence.

RudyKelly said...

I think that sounds about right. I didn't agree with the penalty at the time, but it probably deserved a one game suspension. This one's tough for me, though. I mean, I hate Chris Pronger... but I also hate Tomas Holmstrom. This is probably the best of both worlds: Holmstrom gets his buck teeth knocked loose, and Pronger doesn't get to play.

Of course, I wouldn't expect any stupid Duck fans to understand, because they're too ignorant... wait, wrong post.

dbushik said...

Well, I disagree that the Quacks have depth on the blueline. They have really wonderful top end talent with Neids, Pronger and Beauchemin, but after that they don't have two Sean O'Donnells to rub together. When the top two eat up half the ice time, hey, there's one top four quality defender you no longer really need. However, losing one of those guys is like losing one and a half guys out of your line-up. Right now the Quacks effectively have 2.5 players filling their top 4 defensive spots. That's a blow.

I still firmly believe it'll be up to the Sens to KO the Quacks next round, but disagree they're deep on the blueline and that this is no big deal.

I think the suspension is just right. Late in a lopsided game, Pronger and Holmstrom had a history of conflict in the game leading up to the hit, he clearly goes high tot he head. Sure sounds like suspension worthy to me.

If you check out McKenzie's post yesterday on TSN about it, he makes some good points. Either way, suspension or no, a good arguement can be made. I can't find solid ground to disagree with the decision, and can certainly make the case for it. One game sounds right, assuming there isn't further time missed by Holmstrom.

Anonymous said...

Enh, one game is enough to satisfy this 'Wings fan, I honestly can't believe they had the nards to do it.

Don't get me wrong, if it had been Bertuzzi hitting a Duck like that, my first thought would have been, "Great, Bert's gonna be (rightfully) suspended and that Duckie probably has brain damage. Not good." R. Nieds involvement in the hit doesn't bother me really, semi-borderline at worst, certainly not deserving of a suspension or even the major he got - that was alll Pronger's.

Once a cheap douchebag, always a cheap douchebag.

How's Getzlaf after the accidental stick from Maltby? I hope he's fine so the 'Wings can paste him to the glass next game... legally.

'Wings in 5.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long winded and ever-so-elouqent post on this topic in the 'drinky post' thread, but it either got moderated into oblivion or I blew it and F'd up on executing the 'publish your comment' action.

It was long, I'm lazy, therefore I will sum up...one game for Pronger, not so much as a penalty for Alfredsson for the exact same hit. There is no consistency in the disciplinary decision making at the NHL front office. At all. And I think it stinks.

Earl Sleek said...

Andrew, we have tough guidelines about publishing comments here.

Sorry it got eaten. Blogger has also taken a lot of my best work and flushed it down the toilet, also.

Your short version makes sense, though.

Ian said...

From a Red Wings fan:

1) I like Pronger more than most Wings fans (apparently), but I think the suspension was justified and just right.

2) The NHL officiating is totally inconsistent, both during the game and after. A HUGE meeting needs to be held this offseason.

3) I cannot agree that Niedermayer's hit was not as bad. Pronger was with Holmstrom the whole, time Holmstrom knew he was there and expected the hit, but yes Pronger went too high too hard and did the majority of the damage. But Rob came flying over from almost the opposite faceoff circle and plowed Holmstrom, who had no idea he was coming. That, to me, is almost worse.

dbushik said...

I think the comparison to the Alfredsson hit is inaccurate. Pronger is clearly coming from behind and gets the guy high. Alfredsson is taking the guy from the side and it turns more ugly, but the kind of intent was not there that there was in the Pronger hit, the status of the game was not the same at all (that game was still competative, so it wasn't as plainly about payback for kicking the Quacks butts), and there wasn't the lead-up and conflict between the guys to point to and say there was motive for trying to hurt the guy. I'm not saying the Alfredsson hit didn't deserve an on-ice call, but it certainly didn't deserve the same kind of review for possible suspension. Lets stay reasonable here...

dbushik said...

Okay, let me post a minor retraction. I watched the game live and recall the hit, but just went and watched the Alfredsson hit again. I have to say that was not coming fromt he side initially, he comes from behind the whole way.

Having said that, it really doesn't factor much into the point for me except that I now feel more strongly that there should have been a call on the ice.

Suspension wise, I still believe Pronger warranted more review and more chance of suspension than Alfie.

Mike said...

Don't have a dog in the fight here, so let me toss in my 2 cents. Pronger's hit, had it not resulted in injury, would have been considered 'a good hockey play'. Had Homstrom been facing the way he was skating, it would have looked like a million other pinch-off plays in every game. He was looking behind him, and that caused the hit to drive his head into the boards at an awkward angle, resulting in the cuts.

I don't think the hit itself was any dirtier than dozens of other hits I've seen Pronger lay out. His inside arm was down, and led with his shoulder, not his elbow.

Because it resulted in injury, I believe it's worth a game suspension. After reading the BoA post Sleek referenced in the previous thread, I find it a little easier to think about the different forces at work in determining NHL 'justice', if there is such a thing.

Anonymous said...

Earl, no problem on the eaten post. I probably threw something in there that caught filter. It happens.

I don't know dbushik, looking at it from a non-team-biased point of view (Sharks fan), I really think the hits are the same. You are certainly right about the context of the game, and probably right about intent...but I've watched both repeatedly. Both are hits from behind, both leading with the elbow/forearm, both directed at the opposing players head, and both directly smashing said opponents head/face into the wall.

All I'm saying is that I think the difference here is blood. Plain and simple, if Tallinder bleeds, or breaks his nose/neck/orbital bone/etc. there would more than likely have been a penalty/suspension handed to Alfredsson. It seems like the NHL is strictly reactive, never proactive in their punitive actions. They tend to punish the offender when the victim gets injured, but if the guy getting smeared into the wall is lucky enough to escape injury, the front office will often turn a blind eye.

Now I realize there are definitely exceptions. Simon didn't injure Hollweg and got nailed w/a fat suspension. Neil obviously injured Drury and got nothing. But by and large, I think there are dozens of cheap shots that go unpunished by the league simply because the guy who's on the receiving end of the cheap shot/hit to the head isn't seriously hurt. And it's that kind of inconsistency that irritates me.

Beerme said...

As a long-time Red Wings fan, I am very familiar with Chris Pronger. If you Ducks fans aren't aware of it, Pronger has a long and torturous relationship with the Red Wings. I think it's safe to say that, during the playoffs, Pronger awakens often in the middle of the night wringing wet with sweat from another Wings nightmare. Maybe it's the one where the Wings humiliate him and his team in the second round, year after bloody year(1996-1998), or perhaps the one where he loses to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions in the Conference Finals (2001).

The Wings and his history with them is most definitely in his head. He can't shake it and his unsteady mental/emotional state will most likely worsen in this series, especially if the Wings go on to win the game he misses.

Anonymous said...

Just saw your 2nd post dbushik...I was taking my sweet time on mine.

Regardless of how the Alfredsson/Tallinder hit played out, it wouldn't have mattered. The Sabres stink out loud right now. A PP probably wouldn't have helped anyways. What a drag. I like the Sabres, always have...once the Sharks got tossed I was ready to cheer those lovable Buffaslugs through to the SCF. Now (after tonights game) I got no one!

Anonymous said...

"I think the Ducks have a perfectly good chance of winning Game Four without Pronger - they're incredibly deep on the blue line"

Pronger was +27 in the regular season. The second dman was +9. How is that "incredibly deep"?

"But Rob came flying over from almost the opposite faceoff circle and plowed Holmstrom"

If Pronger doesn't shove Holmstrom into the glass from behind, Niedermayer doesn't get him in the back either. He didn't get his hands up, didn't hit him in the back, it was a clean check. Without Pronger's influence on the play, Niedermayer gets as much glass as Holmstrom.

"Pronger's hit, had it not resulted in injury, would have been considered 'a good hockey play'."

What?! Not even close. He took his hand off his stick and got both forearms into the back of Homer's head, and hit him in the back. That's roughing, boarding, and charging all rolled up into one. It's about the farthest from "a good hockey play" I've seen.

Anonymous said...

can anyone pose a decent explanation as to why pronger didn't get a penalty in the first place? it just doesn't make sense to me why RN would get the 5 mins and the ejection and pronger would get the suspension. they didn't both board him. one of them was with him the whole time, and one of them wasn't. holmstrom isn't an idiot. he knows that if he's being chased to the boards with the puck, and especially by a duck, then he's getting checked into the boards. so, he didn't see them both, but how can they justify punishing both players? just because he got injured? that's my non-biased query.

Earl Sleek said...

Paul's here to make friends, apparently. :)

It's about the farthest from "a good hockey play" I've seen.

Good use of hyperbole, though.

can anyone pose a decent explanation as to why pronger didn't get a penalty in the first place?

Ah, a question that's not riddled with insult. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone's got a good explanation here. The refs missed it or ignored it, but neither is very satisfactory.

Ted said...

Another Sharks fan here...surprised at what Mike said. I can't agree. What makes the suspension justified is the fact that Pronger, as he has done so many times over the years, raises his elbow. It's the forearm crushing the head to the glass that does the damage, how could M say he didn't raise his arm?!

Earl Sleek said...

Here's a side question that I haven't been asking out loud, mostly because I'll be called out as a Duck fan whining:

Does it surprise anyone else how quickly Holmstrom's helmet flies off? Of course it happens with Pronger's contact, but it doesn't seem that it's on very well, nor that the chinstrap is even fastened.

Didn't Holmstrom take a stick to the eye in round 1? Didn't he miss a few games in round 2? Didn't he start sporting a visor upon his return?

You'd think his helmet might be better attached. It probably could have lessened the injury likelihood.

Now, please, Red Wing fans, do not get me wrong. Pronger is a (insert your word here), clearly looking for a cheap shot there. A suspension is not an issue with me, and Holmstrom deserves none of the blame. I merely ask this as a safety question. Cool?

Mike said...

I take back everything I said. I mistook Niedermayer for Pronger in the video.


Anonymous said...

I'm starting to think some of the players' moms should be hired to sit behind the benches and make sure their stupid helmets stay on their stupid lumpy heads so they do some damn good as brain buckets.

And I wasn't at the game, so I didn't see how the refs were positioned. Maybe Niedermayer got a penalty and Pronger didn't because the official had a better view of that half of the hit?

One game in the playoffs for a headshot seems fair. I'm surprised they did anything, although I suppose he might get three games or so in the regular season for the same kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

Hey Earl, I had that same thought, "How come his helmet came off so quickly?" I noticed that Datsyuk's helmet is pretty loose as well. Also I think I saw one of the Niedermayer's helmetless a couple of times. I think there is something in the NHL where it is not "macho" to have your helmet strapped on tight. I could be wrong, just an observation.

Anonymous said...


The only time Holmstrom has missed a playoff game over the past ten years was when he took a stick blade to the eyelid in the Calgary series and the doctors said his vision could be permanently damaged if he played.

The helmet is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

The Detroit online fan presence is strong. We get hammered even if we agree with something.

I made note of the loose helmet earlier today, I think I was called a douche, so I guess that is actually a good reason Holmstrom's helmet was loose. But I thought this was supposed to be about Pronger's suspension?

I bet if the Ducks actually play as a cohesive unit, they can bring the series back to Detroit tied, Pronger be damned. But lets let Paul answer that...

Paul: [Insert random negative statistical fact about Ducks chances]...see, you have no chance.

PJ Swenson said...

I think a one game suspension is about right.

Watching it full speed, Holmstrom plays the puck behind him and gets double teamed by Niedermayer and Pronger. But on the slow motion replay, Pronger intentionally goes up high and takes a shot at his head, loose helmet and all.

Christine Simpson did the post game interview with Holmstrom on Versus and asked a bunch of good questions, but at the end she asked if he should have had his helmet tighter and when they cut back to the booth all 4 guys were laughing.

When Pronger is on his game, I think he can be even more valuable than Niedermayer. His break out passes are underrated. But as he did with St Louis a couple of years back, he can lose it pretty quickly and cause enough penalties to take a team out of a game.

If Anaheim does not take game 4 at home, the series is over.

Anonymous said...

"It's about the farthest from "a good hockey play" I've seen.

Good use of hyperbole, though."

My comment is not hyperbole. It was an explanation of my own personal observation and experience, not an exaggeration. Hyperbole would have been: that was the farthest thing from a "good hockey play" that has ever happened in all of hockey history.

see the difference?

and, uh, I could give a rat's arse about making friends on the Internet. I call 'em how I see 'em.

Earl Sleek said...

see the difference?

Sure, but surely we've seen worse this season, right?

This is no Chris Simon, this is no Jamie McClennan, this is no Brad May, etc.

So either you never saw any of these, consider them to be "good hockey plays", or are exaggerating.

I'm guessing the last option.

Wooster11 said...

Man, lots of comments on this.

As much as I hate to hear/see it, I do feel that the suspension is the spot on.

I just don't think Pronger got his money's worth on this one. I have a hard time believing that it was intentional on his part to hit Holmstrom in the head. If he did, I think there would have been a lot worse damage done. Is it just me who thinks that? NHL players, like Pronger, are enormous and strong. If they wanted to hurt someone, they would cause some serious damage like Todd Bertuzzi.

This then begs the question, if an unintentional hit that causes injury (non-injury since he came back right away) warrants a suspension, why not accidental high sticks that cause damage as well. I think players need to be even more responsible with their sticks than their arms/elbows. Sticks can cause a whole lot more damage.

It sure looked like Getzlaf was bleeding much more than Holmstrom was at the time of their respective incidents.

And speaking of Todd Bertuzzi, do you think he'll be seeking revenge again? Since Pronger's out, will Big Bert be going after R. Niedermayer? For some reason, it's quite easy for me to think the answer is yes to both those questions.

Earl Sleek said...

And speaking of Todd Bertuzzi, do you think he'll be seeking revenge again? Since Pronger's out, will Big Bert be going after R. Niedermayer? For some reason, it's quite easy for me to think the answer is yes to both those questions.

See, maybe I'm getting soft, but I don't think this will necessarily be the case. I don't know a ton on Bertuzzi, but it always seemed to me that he was a guy who's been pretty unfairly characterized as a 'goon'.

Sure he was the attacker in one of the most goonish suckerpunches we've seen over the past decade, but aside from that incident, has this sort of play really been his M.O.?

So I'm guessing no backlash from Bertuzzi. Besides, I get the feeling that Detroit is really enjoying being on the "high road" on this one--I don't think they're stooping to this sort of game, if for no other reason than to maintain the differentiation between the "honorable" Wings and the "dirty" Ducks.

My take, anyway.

Doogie2K said...

The Wings and his history with them is most definitely in his head.

You forgot the part where he was one of the two or three key players in eliminating the Wings last year.

can anyone pose a decent explanation as to why pronger didn't get a penalty in the first place?

Because at game speed, Rneids' hit looked worse, so it was presumed to be the damaging one. It's not until you see the replay, especially in slow-mo, that you really see who did what to whom.

PPP said...

Matt's post is great and I found it especially applicable because in the second period Holmstrom laid a similar hit to the one that Pronger caught him with but there was no injury and therefore no penalty and of course no outrage and no suspension.

Having said that, one game was about right.

Beerme said...

You forgot the part where he was one of the two or three key players in eliminating the Wings last year.

Yeah and I bet Pronger forgets it, too...