A Fitting End: Pronger Watches As the Stars Eliminate the Ducks

Bill SearsCorrespondent IApril 21, 2008

The Anaheim Ducks season came to an end with Chris Pronger sitting in the penalty box.

That is poetic justice.

The series with Dallas was defined by the reckless play by the Ducks and the Dallas Stars stepping up to take advantage of it.

Anaheim has some really talented players but they have forgotten how to play hockey. Instead, they have been led by their coach and captain into an odd world that resembles the WWE on ice. 

The Ducks had success last year by beating teams into submission with the apparent blessings of the NHL. That, along with the style of play favored by their coach and inherent gooniness of their captain, contributed to making the team move more and more into the realm of cheap shot hockey.

To win, you have to score goals; to score goals, you have to play the puck.

It became very clear as the series went on that the Ducks were more interested in playing for the hits. 

I don't like the Ducks; I don't hate them, I just don't like them. My son, however,  is a huge Ducks fan—much to my dismay. For him and the other Ducks fans, I am sorry to see their season come to an end so soon.  

The one thing my son and I agree on is that Pronger is overrated and more of a thug than a skilled defense-man.

Pronger may not have always been this bad, but he has been poorly served by a league that has given him easy passes when he has done wrong.

And wrong he has done.

With just nine games to go in the regular season, he was suspended for eight games for stepping on an opposing player's leg.

This was his eighth suspension.

Last year, he received two suspensions for one game a piece during the final two rounds of the playoffs. Basically, Pronger has shown an inability to control his emotions and lets them get the best of him. The league, rather than be as stern with him as they have others, has gone soft and this has only emboldened him.

This has carried over to other Duck's players.

Look at the cross check to the back of the head that Ryan Getzlaf issued in game five against the Stars. It was well after the play had moved on, it was an extra shot, and it was very deliberate.

How the league failed to issue a suspension for that one is beyond me.  

For all Ducks fans, I hope this leads to some changes that will bring hockey back to Anaheim.

Hockey should be a tough hard-played game, not one of cheap shots and goons.