SUN Hockey Pool

Pronger suspended

SUN WIRE SERVICES AND DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

Upon further review, Chris Pronger's stomp on the leg of Vancouver centre Ryan Kesler could not go unpunished.

The NHL kicked back at Anaheim's all-star defenceman yesterday, suspending him for eight games -- a ban that won't expire until the final day of the regular season.

Pronger was to begin serving his eighth career suspension last night when the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks hosted the St. Louis Blues.

"First, I apologize to Ryan Kesler. Second, to the Vancouver Canucks organization, third, to the Anaheim Ducks organization, the league and the fans," Pronger said after receiving his longest suspension. "They obviously deserve an apology as well.

"There is not a place for these types of instances in our game."

It is a critical blow to Anaheim, which began the day in third place in the Pacific Division, one point behind Dallas and four short of San Jose. Pronger is eligible to return April 6 for the regular-season finale against Phoenix.

During Anaheim's 4-1 victory over the Canucks on Wednesday, Pronger and Kesler became tangled behind the Vancouver net. As Pronger turned to head back up ice, he stepped on Kesler's leg as the Vancouver forward lay on the ice.

No penalty was called on the play, and the NHL said a proper video angle wasn't available until Thursday night.

The punishment was handed down hours after Pronger had a phone hearing with NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell.

"In attempting to free himself, Pronger carelessly and recklessly brought his foot down," Campbell said in a statement.

Kesler, who wasn't injured, said he was fine with the judgment.

HALL OF FAME HAB PASSES

MONTREAL -- Former Canadiens defenceman Ken Reardon has died following a lengthy illness, the team announced yesterday. He was 86.

Noted for his rugged play, Reardon was a two-time NHL first all-star during his seven-year career, which included a pair of Stanley Cup championships. He also earned three second-team all-star nods.

Reardon, whose career was temporarily halted after he joined the Canadian Army in 1942, retired from the league in 1950 and remained with the franchise as a scout, manager and vice-president during the Canadiens' run of Stanley Cup titles from 1956-60.

Reardon, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966, finished with 26 goals and 96 assists in 341 career games.

ROLOSON GETS A START

PHOENIX -- He hasn't started a game since the first day of February.

But last night the Edmonton Oilers decided to pin their faint playoff hopes on Dwayne Roloson.

The Oilers goaltender got the start against the Phoenix Coyotes having played a backup role in the previous 17 games.

"I'm really excited about the start, but at the same time you can't get too excited," Roloson said before the contest. "You have to try and focus on what you can do and just try and play the game."


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