Pronger suspended for hit on Wings' Holmstrom

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Anaheim defenseman
Chris Pronger was
suspended for one game by the NHL on Wednesday for his hit on
Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom the previous night.

Pronger, a former Norris Trophy winner and a finalist for the
award this year, will miss Game 4 of the Ducks-Red Wings series
Thursday night in Anaheim. He leads the Ducks with 12 points,
including three goals, during the playoffs.

"We disagree completely with [NHL disciplinarian] Colin
Campbell's decision here. But we respect the process," Ducks
general manager Brian Burke said. "If you watch some of the other
views, it looks like a dangerous, high hit. If you look at the end
zone view, I think it shows best that Chris Pronger went to hit
Tomas Holmstrom at a 45-degree angle from the boards.

"At no point is Chris delivering a hit toward the boards, a
dangerous hit. He's coming in to finish a check at a 45-degree
angle. Rob Niedermayer steps into the player [Holmstrom], pins him,
you get a high finish."

Holmstrom had two goals and an assist in the Red Wings' 5-0
victory Tuesday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in the Western
Conference finals. He had to leave the game midway through the
second period to get 13 stitches to close two cuts on his forehead
after Pronger and Niedermayer almost simultaneously slammed into

Niedermayer drew a major penalty for boarding and was ejected,
but Pronger was not assessed a penalty on the play. The NHL
reviewed the play Wednesday, Pronger spoke to the league on the
phone and the decision was made to suspend him because of a blow to
Holmstrom's head.

Holmstrom returned to begin the third period and had an assist
on the Red Wings' final goal.

Burke said he appreciated the way the Red Wings and their coach,
Mike Babcock, handled the situation.

"I think if Robby Niedermayer doesn't come into this play, I'm
not here [talking about it], there's no hearing, there's no
issue," Burke said.

Pronger didn't speak with reporters.

"He's sour about it," Burke said. "That's why he's not
talking to you guys. The league doesn't like us swearing. I don't
want Chris to talk to anyone today."

Holmstrom said after the game that he wasn't sure what happened
on the play. Niedermayer was surprised at the call against him, but
happy that Holmstrom wasn't seriously hurt and was able to come
back in the third period.

Before the suspension was announced, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle
was asked about the possibility of not having Pronger for the next

"Obviously he's a big part of our hockey club. But, again,
we've had stretches through the season where he wasn't on our blue
line," Carlyle said. "We'll move other people in, make some
adjustments with our personnel. Other people will have to share
those minutes."