The Ducks’ Rob Niedermayer was hit with a 5 minute major and a game misconduct penalty for his part in the above mugging of Detroit’s Tomas Holstrom on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the NHL suspended Niedermayer’s linemate, Chris Pronger for Thursday’s Game 5, a punishment which Anaheim GM Brian Burke questioned (naturally). From the Detroit News’ John Niyo.
Burke said his view of the replays showed Pronger’s hit came from an angle to the side — not from behind — and wasn’t the kind of shot to the head the league is trying to eliminate from the game.”You’re talking about a player that is 6-6 and his arms never (went) above his shoulders — he’s not head hunting there,” Burke said.
“I think the blow was to the shoulders and rides up into the head when the players stopped. Did it end up as a head shot? Yes, I’d have to concede that. I don’t think that’s how it started out.”
Pronger, a Norris Trophy finalist and the Ducks’ leading scorer in the playoffs, declined to address the media after the suspension was handed down Wednesday.
“He’s sour about it,” Burke said. “That’s why he’s not talking to you guys.”
Holmstrom said he still hadn’t seen a replay of the hit.
“I don’t want to see it,” he said, adding, “Obviously, a hit to the head — you’ve got to take that away from hockey.”
Asked about his decision to return to the game, Holmstrom said: “They checked me to see that I didn’t have a concussion. And I wanted to go out there and play. I was lucky I didn’t get hurt more, though.”
Burke did go out of his way to praise the Wings for not embellishing Holmstrom’s injury.
“The Red Wings did the honorable thing last night,” he said. “They put him back in the game. Same thing we would have done. There are teams in this league that would have put him in an ambulance and sent him somewhere for the night.”