NHL: Anaheim's Chris Pronger suspended from Game 4 of playoff finals

Monday, June 4, 2007

The National Hockey League (NHL) handed down a one-game suspension to Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger on Sunday for a hit he laid on Dean McAmmond of the Ottawa Senators during Game 3 of the playoff finals Saturday night.

Although there was no penalty call on the play, replays showed Pronger's forearm hitting the head of McAmmond, who had to be helped from the ice. McAmmond didn't return for the remainder of the game. The hit occurred at 2:01 of the third period.

The league was swift in rendering judgment on Pronger. “A variety of factors were considered in reaching this decision," said Colin Campbell, NHL Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations. "Mr. Pronger used his forearm to deliver a forceful hit to the head of his opponent. Also, his actions caused injury to his opponent."

Ottawa's coach Bryan Murray was not surprised at the suspension. "I think the history of Chris Pronger comes into play a little bit," commented Murray. "There was a very obvious elbow to the head."

Pronger had been suspended for one game previously in the 2007 playoffs for a similar hit on Tomas Holmstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, which may have influenced the league's decision on the latest hit.

McAmmond agreed with the suspension verdict. "I think it should have been a suspension because it was a blow to the head," said McAmmond. "It wasn't incidental. It's not like that couldn't have been avoided."

Whether McAmmond will be fit enough to return for Monday's game is not clear. "I'm feeling pretty much the same as I was yesterday, a little bit headachy, not feeling quite right," explained McAmmond. "I'm going to do everything I can, or as little as I can, to feel good tomorrow. I want to play, but at this point in time, I'm not sure."

Despite the injury to McAmmond, Ottawa went on to win Game 3 with a score of 5 to 3. The next game is scheduled for Monday night in Ottawa.