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NHL Makes Yet Another Bad Decision On Discipline With Hiring Of Chris Pronger

COMMENTARY: Former National Hockey League defenseman Chris Pronger might turn out to be a great hire by the league for their Department of Player Safety. Nevertheless, he should never have been considered for the job at all.


LOS ANGELES — The National Hockey League has proven, once again, that the way they handle discipline of its players leaves a lot to desired, and that’s putting it mildly.

This time, it was not an on-ice incident, or a way-too-short suspension, which is the norm in the NHL. Nor was it an off-ice incident involving a crime, or a substance abuse incident. Nothing like any of that.

This time, the problem might run deeper.

On October 10, the NHL announced the hiring of former stalwart NHL defenseman Chris Pronger to work in their Department of Player Safety, alongside Senior Vice President, Player Safety, Stephane Quintal.

Pronger was a stellar defenseman in the league—a Stanley Cup Champion, Hart and Norris Trophy winner, five-time NHL All-Star, and a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner, just to name some of the accomplishments on his resume. His record of achievement is indisputable.

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LA Kings Defenseman Keaton Ellerby Will Need To Get The Lay Of The Land Quickly

LA Kings defenseman Keaton Ellerby, shown here speaking to the media
following practice on February 13,
2013, at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Despite being acquired by the Los Angeles Kings just five days ago, defenseman Keaton Ellerby already seems like a Southern California native, at least a little bit, anyway.

“I went down for lunch in Hermosa [Beach] with [defenseman Jake] Muzzin and [right wing Jordan] Nolan, and then just waited around,” Ellerby said, describing what he did during the Kings’ day off on February 12. “I picked up some sushi last night, checked the beach out…”

Sounds a lot like what the locals might do on a day off, right? Not so fast, at least, not in this case, anyway.

“I toured around a little bit yesterday,” said Ellerby. “It’s going to take awhile to get used to everything, and all traffic, stuff like that.”

Ellerby started the day off getting some much needed extra rest.

“I kind of slept in,” said the 24-year-old, 6-5, 217-pound native of Strathmore, Alberta. “I came in, and did the whole tour of the [Kings practice] facility yesterday.”

After that, it was time to get the lay of the land…

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LA Kings Defenseman Willie Mitchell On Concussions: “I Get Into A Car Wreck Six Times A Night”

When it comes to concussions, Los Angeles Kings
defenseman Willie Mitchell speaks from experience.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — We’re not even at the halfway point of the 2011-12 National Hockey League season, but far too many players have already gone down due to concussions.

In no particular order, the NHL has lost stars like Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers, Milan Michalek of the Ottawa Senators, Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes, and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, all to concussions.

Most notably, the league has also lost Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who is expected to miss the rest of the season, and Pittsburgh Penguins superstar forward Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely after a recurrence of post-concussion syndrome. Read more of this post

They Must Use A Dart Board To Make Decisions At NHL Headquarters

LOS ANGELES — The first two days of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs are now in the books, but, disappointingly, one of the most memorable aspects of the playoffs so far is the fact that how the National Hockey League handles supplementary discipline is still little more than a joke.

Logo courtesy National Hockey League

Before you start rolling your eyes, this is not really about the merits of Los Angeles Kings center Jarret Stoll’s hit from behind on San Jose Sharks defenseman Ian White in Game 1 of their Western Conference Quarterfinal series on April 14. It is also not about if Sharks defenseman Jason Demers should have been suspended for his hit on Kings left wing Ryan Smyth in the same game. Even the punishment Anaheim Ducks right wing Bobby Ryan should receive for stomping on Nashville Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum’s’s foot in Game 2 of their first round series on April 15 is not what this story is about.

These incidents shine an ultra-bright spotlight on the haphazard way the NHL hands out fines and suspensions. Indeed, it often seems that whether or not the incident results in an injury, along with the severity of the injury, dictates whether or not a suspension is handed down, not to mention the number of games. Read more of this post

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