Last Wednesday, Chris Pronger got tied up against the boards with Ryan Kesler during a game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks. After Pronger got his leg free from Kesler’s, he delivered a vicious stomp onto Kesler’s calf. Thankfully, Kesler was not seriously injured, but since the league initially had no good video of the incident, no suspension was given. Then a new angle popped up, showing clear evidence of the stomp, which led to an 8 game suspension for the captain of the Ducks.
We’ve all seen what hockey skates can do. They are razor sharp, and arguably the deadliest thing on the ice. So, why would any right thinking player think that driving that blade into another player is a good idea? I’d say this was an anomaly, but Chris Simon had his own stomping incident earlier this year and received a 30 game suspension.
Speaking of Simon, he had this to say about the incident in the Minnesota Pioneer Press:
“I think it’s definitely not fair,” Simon said. “My opinion is there’s obviously two sets of rules.”
“If you look at the (video) tape and look at his history, you can’t say we’re different, other than he’s a star player and I’m not.”
While he’s clearly wrong about the comparison of the two incidents, he may have a point about Pronger’s star status. Both players are repeat offenders, yet Pronger a slap on the wrists compared to the huge chunk of the season Simon served. Why? The league really failed to give out an appropriate punishment for a pretty atrocious act and is a clear indicator that something needs to change.
I think it may be time for minimum suspensions. A clear cut amount of time needs to be defined to a player knows that if you stomp on another player, you’re going to sit for X amount of games, no matter what. If it’s worse, you sit longer. There’s too much of a gray area with punishment, and it’s a culture that breeds these types of incidents.