Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Double standard in hockey?

Chris Pronger is not Chris Simon. This much is clear, in the sense that having Chris Pronger on your team can make you a Cup contender, but having Chris Simon on your team...well, I don't really see at this point why anyone would want Chris Simon on their team. Pronger was recently suspended 8 games for an incident that was very similar to the one that netted Simon his NHL-record 30 gamer at the beginning of the year. Now, the incidents were certainly different. Simon's came after the play was over, and it was a deliberate attempt to injure. Pronger's came while the play was still going, he was trying to disentangle his leg from Ryan Kesler's, and he stomped down on Kesler's leg in a deliberate attempt to injure. Both players stomped down, with a skate, on the leg of another player who was prone on the ice. Both players had been suspended eight times leading up to the stomping incident. Both players are known for being cheap-shot artists and dirty players. And yet the big difference here? Pronger is a Cup winner, a Hart Trophy winner, a Norris Trophy winner, and a superstar. Simon is a fourth-line brawler at best.

On the surface, this seems to be a no-brainer. With similar histories of suspensions and dirty play, with a similar incident to deal with, should these suspensions not be completely equal? Should Pronger not be given thirty games? Not that it's the same thing, but we saw what a skate blade can do very recently in that horrible Richard Zednik incident. So it's pretty clear that stomping on a leg could do an awful lot of damage, and there can be no question whether there was intent to injure. So the NHL is basically saying that Pronger gets 8 games because his stomp was reactive and Simon's was pre-meditated. Like a court giving a life sentence for first-degree (pre-meditated) murder and an 8-year sentence for second-degree (in the heat of passion) murder. Which is something that seems like a stretch to me. If someone is able to get into say, an argument with someone at a bar, walk out to his car and get a gun and go back inside and shoot that other person, or when they are able to stab someone to death in an incident of road rage, isn't that person the one who is most likely to kill again? That person has no control whatsoever of their impulses, no matter how irrational they are.

However, I checked a little further, and realized that the suspensions were a little more equal than I thought. This year, Chris Simon is being paid $475,000.00. Therefore, his 30 games cost him $169,642.86, or thereabouts. Chris Pronger, on the other hand, is earning $6,250,000.00 this season, and therefore he is losing even more money than Simon - $595,238.10 over his 8 games. So. I don't know what all this means. I guess, more than anything, it means the Ducks will have Pronger by the time the playoffs start, so he can be a part of the team as they defend their Cup and are all over the TV. Boy - think of how low those American TV ratings would be without Chris Pronger!

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