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January 26, 2011

Another Suspension For Chris Pronger

I really like Chris Pronger as a player. He is the captain of the Ducks, a team that I enjoy watching and he plays the same position I played when I was involved in hockey. I mean, I am sure that he is a stand up guy when he is not on the ice but why would he stomp on Ryan Kelser’s leg? Really, why would anyone do that? Not to mention, Pronger is a great player and he does not need resort to such tactics.

At first it seemed like the league was not going to give him any suspension. I think that the outrage of the media and those around the league was the reason why Colin Campbell decided to suspend Pronger. I heard the excuse about how there was not sufficient video review or something of the incident but I really don’t buy that. It seemed like with the rash of other suspensions he was giving out at the time that the Pronger stomp would have been high on his suspension list. Of course, I know that Campbell has a tough job and deciding which hits are dirty can be hard but when a player stomps on another player, I think that immediate suspension is warranted. Skate blade on leg, even if the leg is not hurt should be a no brainer.

Earlier in the season Chris Simon was suspended for a stomp. Some people said that it was unfair to have Simon sit out 30 games and I tend to agree with that. I mean, 30 games is quite a bit. However, Simon, like Pronger is a chronic offender. It seems to me that the guys that do these types of things do them over and over again. With this in mind, I wonder if the suspensions really have any effect on players that overreact and lash out in inappropriate ways. Eight games for putting a player in danger on purpose is a little shy of what I think should be handed out. Especially since Chris Simon had to miss 30 games for a similar assault.

I obviously adore hockey and I don’t buy the argument that the guys in the NHL are violent and mean spirited by nature. These stomping issues seem to be something relatively new in hockey and it gives the sport a bad reputation. People that do not watch hockey or think that it is too violent take incidents like the one with Pronger and use it as an example of what goes on in the NHL. Pronger is a hockey hero and he should carry himself accordingly. He is a good enough player to go out on the ice, play the game and win battles without resorting to senseless violence. Maybe this time it was just a reflex type reaction and he honestly did not mean to stomp on Kelser but after his numerous suspensions and the previous suspension of Simon, something had to happen.

I don’t know if the suspensions are the way to teach players not to do these types of things. I know it sounds kind of silly but maybe the punishment should be something that makes a little bit more of an impact on the person that commits the act. How about requiring players that do something like stomping on the leg of another player to complete some type of anger management courses or go to mandatory counseling sessions? While that may sound like it is not a strong enough punishment, it is obvious that these suspensions do not deter the players that are prone to commit such acts. This is Pronger’s eighth suspension. Seems to me that the lesson is not being learned. Maybe it needs to be taught a different way.

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