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June 3, 2007

Colin Campbell


FRANK BROWN: Questions? Anaheim Ducks Chris Pronger has been suspended for Game 4 for the Stanley Cup for a blow to the head to Ottawa Senators Dean McAmmond Saturday night. The incident occurred at 2:01 of the third period, no penalty was assessed, quote, a couple of factors were considered in reaching this decision, closed quote, said NHL Senior Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. Quote, Mr. Pronger used his forearm to deliver a forceful hit to the head of his opponent.
Also, his actions caused injury to his opponent, end quote.
Pronger also was suspended previously for delivering a blow to the head of Detroit's Thomas Holmstrom in the Western Conference Final. Pronger will be eligible to return for Game 5 Wednesday at Anaheim.

Q. How much different does it make your decision or more difficult to suspend a key player in a Stanley Cup Final game even as opposed to the Pronger suspension last round?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, both rounds are difficult; you're getting it close, but obviously the final round is a very difficult round to take any player out of, and there's no prescribed or defined degree of change as far as the act to suspend players in the final round.
I suspended two players in the past. Nieminen in the Calgary Tampa series for hitting Lecavalier and Fisher in the Detroit Carolina series for a cross-check, each in one game.
It's always difficult for everyone involved in hockey. We all know how precious it is to chase the Stanley Cup and to be at this point. And it's a tough decision to make. We don't take these things lightly at any time; we don't take them lightly, but particularly now.
So it was hard. But on the other hand, a player did get knocked out. And that player may not be playing tomorrow night, too. We're not sure.

Q. Did Pronger's previous suspension play any role in this one?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, we're responsible for considering previous offenses and repeat offenders. That's part of supplemental discipline and I was hesitant and it certainly did carry some sort of influence, but at the end of the day, looking at the play itself, it's something that we're concerned about, always have been concerned about, and we think we've reduced them quite a bit over the past few years, hits to the head.
There was some talk throughout this season about legal hits to the head and we will address them, those kind of plays as far as whether they're acceptable or not acceptable. But, obviously, hits to the head have never been acceptable and something we're trying to get rid of in the game.

Q. Is it embarrassing to you to keep suspending players for offenses that were not detected by your referees?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Is it embarrassing to me? No, it's not embarrassing at all.
I challenge everybody who watches hockey to detect things on the ice. In fact, it might be easier to detect things from where we all sit. But when you're on the ice, you've got big players skating fast.
We have our best officials working this series right now. They're deemed to be the best because they're still working. And they've been working that way and it doesn't embarrass me at all. That's a stupid word, embarrass, at this point in time for these officials.
It's called supplemental discipline, meaning we can add discipline to the acts on the ice and that's why we're afforded video. We're all experts when we get to watch it five, six times on video replay in slow motion, especially in high-definition now.

Q. Since this was a consecutive suspension from one series to the other, was there any thought given to doubling the suspension to two games?
COLIN CAMPBELL: There always is some thought to that. When you get in a series, a Stanley Cup series, it's tough to determine the value of a one-game suspension, how you put the weight on a one-game suspension. Is the first game or, I should say, the second game of a series more, worth more than a fourth game of a series? Is a fourth game of a series worth more than a sixth game of a series.
You do put some thought and lots of weight into that aspect. And being a repeat offender, I've been told by the players many times that that is a considerable aspect to supplemental discipline, repeat offenders. But in this case, we thought one was certainly enough at this point in the playoffs.

Q. I apologize if this seems somewhat simplistic, but the minute you saw it, did you know something was going to be done? Was there any debate about this at all, or was it a foregone conclusion?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Sometimes when we see - you don't have to apologize. It's a good question, this one. (Laughing). These things sometimes - I've been doing this probably too long, 9 years now, and I've been involved in a few hundred of these. And there are some that jump out at you right away. And there's some that don't jump out at you right away.
This one took a lot of thought. We had to look at the - we had to examine the medical. We had to examine the play, the act. It wasn't an easy one. It didn't jump out right away at us. But there were some simple aspects to it. A blow to the head with the elbow that resulted in a concussion are some pretty simple criteria that we've gone by before in the past often.

Q. Can you describe Anaheim's reaction to this decision?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, again, Brian Burke, the general manager, wasn't very happy. And he shouldn't be. I wouldn't be happy, too, if I took a quality player out of my lineup, or somebody did. But they've accepted it, as they have in the past, and they'll move forward as they did in the past.
And when I dealt with Brian several times over the past 24 hours, 20 hours, since the game finished last night, and as I always do in these situations.
When I told him the results of what we arrived upon, it was a short conversation and I'm sure at this point in time they'll move on. Brian and his coaching staff, Randy Carlyle, have been pretty good. They don't like some of the things we tell them, or some of the ways we call the games. They've been pretty professional. Brian has done this job; he knows it's not an easy job. I've been where he's been at as far as coaching and management, and I wouldn't like it either at this time of year.

Q. If McAmmond returned to the game last night, would Pronger have been suspended? And further, do you think in doing this job that the punishment should be determined by whether a guy is hurt regardless of what kind of act takes place?
COLIN CAMPBELL: It's always difficult. Brian Burke and Anaheim alluded to it before with Holmstrom in that game. Certainly, it's one of the aspects of discipline. Again, if you go to the CBA and check out the definition, and some of the other aspects of supplemental discipline, the injury you cause is certainly one of the important criteria of discipline. And it's tough in the past. And these are difficult ones when a player is participating in a hockey play and he sticks his knee out, you're not sure if he causes injury or not, it's not a blow to the head but you take a player out of the lineup, those are things tough to deal with.
In this case, we've been coming down hard on blows to the head. It's always - it's not - it's difficult also to determine the aspect of a player's injury. I have in the past have had some problems with reports on injuries.
It's a tough enough time for you guys to get, to wade through the lower body, upper body full-body injuries, and I don't know if I always get the accurate reporting on injuries. In this case, I had a couple of conversations with Dr. Chow from Ottawa and their trainer. I have no doubt that McAmmond was knocked out on the play and whether he'll come back tomorrow night, I'm not sure.
It certainly had some impact on this. And if there's no injury in the play, I don't think this act warranted supplemental discipline if it didn't cause this player to be knocked out.

Q. In Mr. Pronger's previous suspension, Anaheim's argument was that there's the size differential, did that play a factor at all in your consideration?
COLIN CAMPBELL: Well, I'm not discrediting their evidence. But when I look at it, there's pluses and minuses to being 6'6". And I think just because you have a height advantage doesn't mean you can deliver an elbow to the head.
On the other hand, we've had a lot of situations where players have ducked down low on the boards and other players have finished their check and their heads have been in a situation where it was just unavoidable for the player doing the hitting. And we take every play into its own context.
For us now with an elbow to the head, it's a dangerous play regardless of a player's size.

Q. If a penalty, say five in a game or something had been called on that play, would there be supplementary discipline?
COLIN CAMPBELL: You know, sometimes we had some questions about the review last night. Those reviews kicked in, puck over the line, they're all different, and similar to supplemental discipline plays. There's certain aspects to them that are similar, but not any one discipline action is exactly the same.
In the case of something like this, we consider the penalty in the game and sometimes we've had players removed from the game with a the major in the game is misconduct very early in the game. The player didn't suffer serious injury but the act was, there was a certain aspect to the act we didn't like, and we do take into consideration that game misconduct the player receives.
At this point in time I don't know if we would have take that into consideration. It didn't happen so we can't consider it at this point. But we have in the past depending on the situation.
FRANK BROWN: Thank you, Colin.

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