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Slap Shots|Damian Cristodero

Slap Shots: Do NHL's suspensions show double standard?

How do you explain the NHL suspending Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger, left, only eight games for stomping on the leg of Vancouver's Ryan Kesler after suspending Chris Simon for 30 for doing the same in December to Jarkko Ruutu? ¶ And why did it take until Saturday when the incident happened Wednesday? ¶ Simon, who plays for the Wild, wants to know, too.

"It would be nice to have things treated fairly," he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune before Pronger's suspension was given.

No penalty was called Wednesday likely because it happened behind the play, out of the referees' view. And the league said a proper video angle wasn't available until Thursday night.

Simon and Pronger lead active players with eight suspensions. Pronger's include two one-gamers in last season's playoffs. He put Detroit's Tomas Holmstrom headfirst into the glass during the West final. And he elbowed Dean McAmmond out of the Stanley Cup final.

But Simon is a role player while Pronger one of the league's stars.

"That's the way it seems," Simon said when asked if Pronger's status helped. "I think you guys can decide for yourselves. That's all I can say."
Civil war

The playoffs are coming, and the pressure is building. How else to explain a fight in practice between the Flyers' Jim Dowd and R.J. Umberger?

According to the Camden (N.J.) Courier Post, Umberger ran into Dowd, Dowd took exception, and the fun began.

"It's just something that happens," Dowd said. "There's teams I've been on that have been successful, it happens once a month."

Such as?

"(Scott) Stevens and (Claude) Lemieux in the locker room," Dowd recalled of the 1994-95 Devils. "They went head-to-head like two bulls with the doors locked. It was unbelievable. There were about six of us in there. Stevens and Lemieux just charged each other like two rams. But they broke it up and went out and won the Cup."

Food for thought

Lightning fans might want to keep this in mind while praying for the
No. 1 overall pick. Bobby Ryan, left, drafted second in 2005, is finally getting his chance with the Ducks and entered Saturday with three goals and two assists in 16 games. Not quite Sidney Crosby, who was taken No. 1.

Odds and ends

If the Flyers think they have a playoff goalie in Martin Biron, they might want to think again. In four back-to-back situations this season (that's eight games, total), he is 1-7 with a 3.49 goals-against average and .896 save percentage. & The Panthers are 6-0 this month and 26-8-2 in March over the past three seasons.
Working overtime

The Oilers' Andrew Cogliano had overtime goals in three straight games this month, the first time that happened since OT's inception in 1983-84. That's close to 5,000 OT games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"What are the odds?" Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "That's why people play the lottery."

For perspective, only three others this season have scored three OT goals (Flames' Jarome Iginla, Capitals' Mike Green, Devils' Patrik Elias). Three others have scored three straight winners but not in OT (Wings' Johan Franzen, Islanders' Miroslav Satan, Flyers' Scott Hartnell).

Deep thoughts

Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had this Q&A with the Arizona Republic:

I see you're No. 2 in save percentage.

You care?

How do you stay mentally sharp?

I'm not sharp. I'm so weak.

Why are you weak?

Because I'm a weak person.

But you're making the right saves?

It's just luck.

It's not all luck.


There has to be some skill involved.

No, just bring my body in front of the shooter, close my eyes and hope to block the shot — seriously.

Slap Shots: Do NHL's suspensions show double standard? 03/15/08 [Last modified: Saturday, March 15, 2008 11:18pm]
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