I’m Feeling Tidbitty

From TSN:

Netminder Ray Emery missed Saturday’s practice (flu) and is questionable to dress for Sunday’s matinee game versus the Hurricanes. Martin Gerber will make his 8th straight start in goal vs. Carolina. – TSN

Uhhh…Flu!!  Yeah, that’s what it is.  I’m sure he’s not sulking because of this.  I guess I can understand Emery might not be feeling so well given that he’s probably just being made aware that he’s likely out about an additional $2.25 million if this is the way the Sens end up going.   I’d feel a bit pukey myself.

 Weighing in on Pronger

I’m not a Chris Pronger fan.  I accept and respect that he is probably the most effective defenseman in the league when you consider the all-around game.  He’s certainly in the top 3 with Lidstrom and Chara, in my opinion.  Not much would make me happier than to see him suspended for 30 games.  As an example, I would probably be happier in the first row at a Rush concert while watching the Senators win the Stanley Cup on the jumbotrons and as the final horns goes Alex rips into the first notes of Limelight to start off the show.  That’s the level we’re talking about here.   A Tragically Hip show under the same circumstances would do it as well.

So, it is with gritted teeth and a clothes pin on my nose (and one on my left nipple just for further punishment) that I come to the defense of the length of his suspension. 

Many have suggested that Pronger should get the same punishment that Simon received for the same act.  Let’s start with the similarities of those two players:

They’re both big guys.  Pronger is 6’6″, 213 lbs.  Simon is 6’3″, 232 lbs.  They’ve both been suspended 8 times.  They’re both fairly dirty players.  They’ve both “stomped” (it just doesn’t seem the right choice of word) opposing players with their skate.  They both have the same first name of “Chris”.  Uhhhhh….that’s about where the similarities end.

Chris Pronger is a hockey player pushing the edges of acceptability.  Chris Simon is a hockey player who pushes the borders of being a criminal.   And, I don’t think he can help it….I mean, the criminal part, not the hockey player part.  Aside from the “stomping” suspension, Pronger has been suspended for slashing (happens every game), high sticking (happens every game), leaving the bench for an altercation (doesn’t happen so much any more but not something you’d label a player as “crazy” for doing), cross checking (happens every game), kicking (ok, so this one is a little over the top…happens every 170 games that Marty Havlat plays), elbowing, (happens every game), and (again) elbowing (happens….I already said this you cheekie monkies). 

Here is Simon’s rap sheet:

[allegedly] calling Mike Grier a nigger (happens almost never), cross checking a player in the throat (uhhh….happens maybe once/year), elbowing (happens every game), cross checking (happens every game, but what doesn’t happen every game is) then jumping on the guy and punching him into submission, kneeing (happens here and again), taking a two handed swing with the stick to Ryan Hollweg’s head (happens once a decade) and then the stomping thing which happens twice in 2007/2008 but really not very often in the scheme of things. 

Chris Simon is a disturbed person with some real anger issues.  Chris Pronger intimidates with dirty play and maybe reacts badly here and there.  The MO (that’s Modus Operandi….just stop it, I don’t know Latin or whatever it is) is not that of a player out of control. 

I believe that Colin Campbell, as is his job, took all of this into account and made the correct determination. I’ve heard too many people say that the crime is the same, so the punishment should be the same.  But what those people aren’t taking into account is everything that had happened before that and the degrees to which those action offend the sensibilities of the game.  Pronger, for the most part, has been suspended for taking game situations to a naughty degree.  Simon (the other Chris) has acted outside of the game because he loses his mind when angry. 

The NHL, and I believe rightly so, very much acknowledges the history of a player before meting out punishment.  Hate Chris Pronger all you want and I’ll even give you $5 to make the sign, but don’t compare him to Chris Simon.  It’s two different Chris’, people.

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