home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 16, 2007

Brian Burke


JAMEY HORAN: Questions for Brian, please.

Q. Your reaction to the suspension?
BRIAN BURKE: We disagree completely with Colin Campbell's decision here. But we respect the process. I think if there's a guy on the planet that understands the difficulty of Colin's job, you're looking at him. These things are not easy. But to me, you know, 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.
I think at no point is Holmstrom's face facing the boards. At no point is Chris delivering a hit towards the boards, a dangerous hit. He's coming in to finish a check at a 45-degree angle. Rob Niedermayer steps into the player, pins him, you get a high finish.
To us, that's what happened. So we disagree completely with the notion that Chris Pronger should be suspended for a game. But we respect Colin Campbell and we respect the process.

Q. In effect, what the league is saying is their referees screwed up last night?
BRIAN BURKE: You can ask the league about. They called the penalty on Rob Niedermayer. These things happen quickly.
We've asked for the game misconduct to Rob Niedermayer to be rescinded. We expect that to happen. I'm not going to fault the referees for that particular call. These things happen quickly. We didn't lose last night because of officiating. We lost last night because we weren't ready to play.

Q. When you made that case from the angle that you're talking about to the league, what was their reaction?
BRIAN BURKE: Well, obviously they don't agree. I mean, you have to ask Colie that. Chris Pronger is an elite player in our league. He's a tough Canadian kid who plays the game as we want it played. We don't approve of guys head hunting. We don't think that's what this was.
We think Detroit behaved very honorably here by putting the player back out on the ice. The players had two cuts, both of which would have been covered by his helmet had it been properly attached. I think it came off four times last night. The Red Wings did the honorable thing last night. They put him back in the game. Same thing we would have done. There are teams in this league that would have put him in an ambulance and sent him somewhere for the night. Detroit did the right thing and Mike Babcock said the right things.
Now our challenge is to find a way to win Game 4 without Chris Pronger. He's a great player. We're happy to have him on our team. He's a great player. We view this as a poor decision. But, again, we respect the process.

Q. What was the league's official ruling and how might this affect the remainder of the series?
BRIAN BURKE: Well, you can't take a player like Chris Pronger out of a game without it having some impact. Your job as a player, when another player comes off, whether it's Chris Kunitz due to injury or Chris Pronger due to suspension, your job is to grab that rope and start pulling harder. Our team has to figure out a way to give a more sustained effort tomorrow night and figure out a way to win this game without Chris Kunitz or without Chris Pronger. They're playing without people, too. They're playing without Mathieu Schneider. Our team motto is no complaints, no excuses, and that's got to be the same way tomorrow.
Someone else has to - whether it's Ric Jackman goes in or whoever, everyone else has to step their game up and we have to beat these guys.

Q. I don't know if you ran into Chris. Is he pretty shocked at the decision?
BRIAN BURKE: He's sour about it. That's why he's not talking to you guys. He's sour about it. The league doesn't like us swearing. I don't want Chris to talk to anyone today.

Q. Also because Holmstrom came back in the game, was there a thought that because he came back and played, there wouldn't be one?
BRIAN BURKE: Well, again, our view of the hit is there shouldn't have been a suspension. The player wasn't injured. He finished the game. Got a couple stitches, which would have been preventable if his helmet was properly attached. Again, that's not a shot at Detroit. As I say, I'm going out of may way to say I appreciate the way Detroit handled this. I do. I wish more teams would be that professional, because that's what we would have done, we would have thrown the guy back out there.
That being said, I can't agree, I can't support the decision. I can't and I won't.

Q. The way the press release was worded, it seems - it's clearly a blow-to-the-head decision than anything else. Any dispute that the blow was to his head?
BRIAN BURKE: If you watch the replay cam, you're talking about a player that is 6'6", his arms never go above his shoulders. He's not head hunting there. He's 6'6" hitting a guy who is 6'1". I think the blow was to the shoulders and rides up into the head when the players stopped. You can slow it down fame by frame. Chris goes high on his shoulders. Then when he stops, it rides up, ends up as a high hit.
Did it end up as a head shot? Yes, I'd have to concede that. I don't think that's how it started out. I think Robby pinning the guy changed the quality of the whole hit. I don't think Chris Pronger meant to inure this player. He didn't injure him. I don't think he meant to hit him in the head.

Q. Do you feel you got a fair chance to state your argument here? Seems like the decision was made so quickly that they may have already had their minds made up in this case.
BRIAN BURKE: You'd have to ask Colin that.

Q. Do you feel like you got a fair shot, chance to state your argument?
BRIAN BURKE: When they have a hearing, the player gets to go first, then the team, then his agent, then the union. He didn't conduct the hearing any differently than I did when I did this. I'd have to say we got a fair hearing.

Q. Last night Mike Babcock talked about players have to show more respect for other players. His words were: Do you run a guy's head into the turn buckle? Do you have any problem with the respect the players show for each other out there?
BRIAN BURKE: I think there are instances where players don't show enough respect. I don't agree that last night was one of those. I think if Robby Niedermayer doesn't come into this play, I'm not here, there's no hearing, there's no issue.
JAMEY HORAN: Thank you.

End of FastScripts
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297