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Pronger suspended for hit to head on McAmmond

OTTAWA -- Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger received a
one-game suspension Sunday for his hit to the head of Ottawa
forward Dean McAmmond in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals.

Pronger, also given a one-game ban during the Western Conference
finals, leveled McAmmond with a forearm Saturday night in the
Ducks' 5-3 loss to the Senators. He will miss Game 4 of the series,
that Anaheim leads 2-1, on Monday night. He is eligible to return
for Game 5 back in Anaheim on Wednesday.

"It was just a reaction play. I just stepped up to make a hit," Pronger told reporters. "You've got to suffer the consequences of what came down. ... Hopefully, Dean's OK. There's no ill-will or malicious intent."

It is the sixth career NHL suspension for the 6-foot-6,
220-pound, hard-hitting All-Star and the second in these playoffs.
During the previous round against Detroit, Pronger was banned for
Game 4 after his hit to the head of Red Wings forward Tomas
Holmstrom against the boards.

"The positives that Chris Pronger brings to the table far
outweigh the negatives," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said moments
after the announcement. "We live with the suspension and we move
forward."

Pronger wasn't penalized on the ice for either of the hits that
led to his suspensions.

"A variety of factors were considered in reaching this
decision," NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell said. "Mr. Pronger
used his forearm to deliver a forceful hit to the head of his
opponent. Also, his actions caused injury to his opponent."

While Ducks general manager Brian Burke said he would accept the Pronger suspension, he was livid over a Chris Neil hit to Ducks forward Andy McDonald. Burke said there should have been a second hearing on Sunday.

"We're not a dirty team, we're a physical team," Burke said. "There's a big difference."

McAmmond -- seven inches and 30 pounds smaller than Pronger -- was
struck as he skated with the puck toward the Ducks net. He did a
spin, fell backward, struck his head on the ice, and slid into the
corner in the Anaheim zone at 2:01 of the third period.

"When I look at it, there are plusses and minuses to
6-foot-6," Campbell said. "Just because you have a height
advantage doesn't mean you can deliver an elbow to the head.

"To us, an elbow to the head is a dangerous play regardless of
the player's size."

McAmmond briefly lost consciousness, Senators coach Bryan Murray
said, but there was no official announcement that the veteran of 14
NHL seasons sustained a concussion.

After receiving medical attention for several minutes, a dazed
and woozy McAmmond was helped to the dressing room and didn't
return. His status for Game 4 is questionable at best.

"McAmmond doesn't look promising," Senators coach Bryan Murray
said Sunday before the suspension was levied.

McAmmond said physically, his condition not has changed since yesterday and that he has been feeling "headachy" since the hit.

"I'm going to do everything I can, or as little as a I can, to feel good tomorrow," McAmmond said. "I want to play but at this point in time, I'm not sure right now."

Campbell said he had "no doubt" McAmmond was knocked out on
the ice.

"We think it was totally unintentional. The league thought
different," Carlyle said. "Chris Pronger is a competitive player.
Some people will say he's using his size as an excuse.

"The fact of the matter is his elbows are higher than most
people's elbows. It's not like he raised his elbow to deliver a
blow to the head."

The Senators camp, however, saw things a bit different.

"It's no doubt that he did this on purpose," said Senators general manager John Muckler. "Unfortunately, we have a player that is injured and has a concussion. And it's doubtful whether he'll be able to play on Monday. Hopefully he will. We just have to move forward."

Senators coach Bryan Murray added that Pronger's history of big hits possibly played a part in the decision.

"There was a very obvious elbow to the head," Murray said. "And we've adamantly gone after the fact that hits to the head cause damage and should be penalized
severely. And in this case they [NHL] did it."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.