March 16 2008 09:41PM
Is Mathieu Garon injured? There's no word from the Edmonton Oilers on that, but after making 17 straight starts, Garon was back on the bench for the second straight game as Dwayne Roloson got the call in a 2-1 shootout win over the San Jose Sharks. While Roloson was outrageously good in San Jose, making 48 saves, his back-to-back starts—he beat Phoenix 5-2 with 38 saves Saturday—seem odd, given the circumstances. Garon faced the Colorado Avalanche in Denver Thursday, but was pulled four minutes into the second period with the score 3–0 right after Steve Staios rode forward Milan Hejduk into him. Not after the 3–0 goal, but right after the collision at the top of the crease. The 29-year-old stopper also took some punishment at the United Center March 7 when Matt Greene dumped 250-pound Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien on top of him. The Oilers couldn't land in San Jose after the Phoenix game because of a curfew at the airport there. Instead, they had to land in San Francisco and bus to San Jose, getting to the hotel at 2 a.m. It's common practice to split back-to-back games between a starter and the back-up. Sitting out your starter, assuming he's healthy, for both games is anything but common—especially when those games are played in less than 24 hours. While Garon may just have some bumps and bruises as opposed to having a specific injury, I suspect there's more to Roloson's back-to-back starts than just "rest" for the starter. As sharp as Roloson looks, Garon may get more rest if he, ahem, needs it. —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.
March 16 2008 06:49PM
(When Penner scored goals...)
"I'm going to get in the best shape I can coming into camp here and just play hockey.
March 15 2008 03:04PM
First the NHL decided repeat offender Chris Pronger shouldn't be suspended at all for stomping Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks with his skate last Wednesday.
March 14 2008 01:08PM
(WARRIOR, pictured above, is consoled by his teddy after Brownlee tears a strip off of him.) I thought I'd be like the Oilers in Denver and not show up today, but there's so many things rattling around my big, empty head...
March 13 2008 03:44PM
Short of spitting in the face of an opponent, is there any action more uncalled for and flat-out cowardly as kicking another player with your skate? I don't think so. In the case of Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger, then, the crime (even if the NHL has seen fit not to punish the kick he took at Vancouver's Ryan Kesler Wednesday) fits the perpetrator. For all of his unquestionable talent -- Pronger has won a Norris Trophy, a Hart Trophy and a Stanley Cup—he's a documented cheap-shot artist and a coward who plays tough with his elbows, his stick and, sometimes, his skates, but who seldom drops the gloves. The often-suspended Pronger is going to skate without sanction after taking a kick at Kesler. That's mind-boggling, considering Pronger's already been suspended once in his career for kicking an opponent—it happened March 14, 2004 when he got a one-game suspension for taking the blade to Ville Nieminen of the Calgary Flames. Some of Pronger's other suspensions include:
- 1995: The league suspended Pronger for four games after he hit Washington forward Pat Peake in the throat with a stick during a Oct. 29 game
- 1998: Pronger was suspended for four games for slashing Phoenix's Jeremy Roenick on Dec. 17, 1998.
- 2007: Pronger was suspended one game for his blow to the head of Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.
Despite all his dirty deeds, Pronger seldom answers the bell with the gloves off—since 1994-95 he's had just 20 fights, or an average of two per season. I know, I know. Pronger's a Norris Trophy winner. He's a big-money, 27-minute-a-night all-star who need not soil his hands trading blows with fourth-liners and sluggers who play seven minutes a night. Fair enough, on the face of it. But it's interesting to note who Pronger has thrown down with. Take a look at that and there's not much doubt he picks his spots—he'll doff the leather if there's an easy mark in front of him. Tough guys on Pronger's resume include Matthew Barnaby, Martin Lapointe and Ian Laperriere. After that, it gets thin. Pronger's also thrown punches with noted pugilist Michal Handzus, who has three career fights. He's tossed 'em with Fredrik Modin, who has two career fighting majors. The rest of Pronger's Murderer's Row includes Daniel Cleary, Mike Stapleton and Michael Grosek. Who's next, Jarret Stoll and Marty Reasoner? —Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.