First thing’s first: although I wrote in my Friday mailbag that Chris Pronger’s stomp on Ryan Kesler could be interpreted any number of ways, that was before I saw the enhanced video that surfaced late Thursday night.
Now, I’m taking it all back. Pronger should be done for, at the very least, the rest of the regular season, as well as the first round of the playoffs. And the fact he gets a one-game warmup for the post-season is downright laughable.
Chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell can try and split hairs over the Ducks captain’s intent all he wants, but if the league truly wants to make it’s most prized employees as safe on the job as possible, the last thing it should be doing is attempting to read players’ minds.
After he suspended Chris Simon – whom I’d imagine has very good grounds for a lawsuit against the league – last year, Campbell said the NHL “sell(s) hate” to its customers.
That’s worthy of another debate altogether, but when the fans’ most fervent hatred is aimed squarely at a disciplinary program that is lily-livered at best and spineless at worst, the program – and the league – is an unqualified disaster.
• I’m with the majority of NHL fans who believe the league’s current points system is absurd and in dire need of revamping. But there’s no denying that, because of three-point games and increased parity, we’ve seen some of the most intense hockey ever played in mid-March.
However, let’s not confuse intense hockey with standings-altering hockey.
All you have to do is look at the Oilers, Capitals and Panthers – who all have at least seven wins in their past 10 games, yet still are on the outside of the playoff bubble – to understand those three-point games and the unbalanced schedule all but guarantee teams which prosper early in the year have a far better shot at making the post-season than those that prosper toward the end of the season.
Adam Proteau is The Hockey News’ online columnist and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and Wednesdays, his Ask Adam feature appears Tuesdays and Fridays, and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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