Anaheim Ducks defenceman Chris Pronger received a one-game suspension from the NHL on Wednesday for his hit on Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom in Game 3 of the Western Conference final.
Pronger, a Norris Trophy finalist who leads the Ducks with 12 points and an average of 31:04 of ice time in this year's playoffs, will miss Game 4 of the best-of-seven series on Thursday night in Anaheim (CBC, 9 p.m. ET).
"He's a big part of our hockey club," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "But we've had stretches through the season where he wasn't on our blue-line.
"We'll move other people in, making some adjustments without personnel. Other people will have to share those minutes."
In a release, the NHL said Pronger was suspended for "a blow to the head" in Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the Red Wings.
Pronger teamed up with Rob Niedermayer to driveHolmstrom into the glass from behind midway through the second period.
The hit dislodged Holmstrom's helmet and left him lying on the ice with a cut on his forehead. But the rugged winger returned to notch an assist — his third point of the night — as Detroit took a 2-1 series lead.
Niedermayer received a five-minute boarding penalty and a game misconduct, while Pronger was not penalized.
However, replays appeared to show that Pronger hit Holmstrom in the head with his elbows, prompting the league to reviewthe play Wednesday.
Pronger spoke toNHL officialson the phone and the decision was made to suspend him.
Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer, Rob's brother,took issue with the league's ruling.
"The call last night was five minutes to Rob Niedermayer," he said. "Today they're talking to Chris. Does that make sense to anybody?"