Flyers D-man Chris Pronger works his magic in a room full of lights, cameras and stupid questions.
Not only am I a big supporter of the boys of the junior ranks; but for the last 30+ years I’ve been a fangirl of the big boys too. For the most part, I’ve leaned towards the good guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, Teemu Selanne and of course my beloved Captain Canuck aka Trevor Linden. But once in a while I would go for someone who didn’t fit that mold … he did what he damn well felt like and f*@% you if you don’t like it. For a long time, that was Mark Messier … well until he went to New York and started a reign of terror over my Trevor, but that is another story for another day. The last couple of years, though, someone piqued my interest. Someone whom I never ever thought I’d find interesting — until he became a member of one of my teams. That man is Chris Pronger.
Christopher Robert Pronger has been on the radar for quite some time but as we came more and more into the Internet age; things that you wouldn’t read about other than in local papers or see on ESPN/TSN for 30 seconds would cross the globe (especially for those of us in the Pacific Time Zone). What kept my attention on him was the whole “Pronger wants to be traded” thing that got started in Edmonton after the Oilers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. There were all sorts of stories concocted from the actual reason that was given by the man himself which was “personal reasons,” to his getting a local celebrity knocked up; and the one that most of the media ran with, which was that his wife hated life there. I’ve been to Edmonton. Sure, it’s not the mecca that St. Louis is; but it’s not that bad. You just have to like miles and miles of flat land and build your kids’ Halloween costumes around snow suits that look like the little brother in “A Christmas Story.” Other than that, it seems like a very lovely town.
Once the Oilers found a buyer for their disgruntled boy, he went to a place that might possibly be the photo negative of Edmonton and that is Southern California. I wasn’t sure what to think when he was traded to the Ducks. I was happy to have a player of his caliber on my team; but I wasn’t sure what sort of mischief he was going to get himself into. What we found out is that, yeah, he’s really good at what he does but part of what he does is knock people around. He is also kind of an ass sometimes. Sometimes, though, you are willing to accept the “con” of his being an ass, for the “pro” of what else he can bring to the team. Namely, he is a player who is not only skilled at what he does, but he was willing to step into a leadership role, taking over the captaincy of the Ducks while Scottie Nieds made up his mind about retirement.
So I guess what I’m trying to say, and may get rotten fruit thrown at me for saying it, is that Chris Pronger doesn’t owe anything to anyone; and least of all the media. As a professional, he has missed the post season only four times; and one of those was because no one else in the league was working. During those playoff runs, three separate teams in the last five years went to the Stanley Cup Finals, with one winning it all — and the team he’s on this year has a good chance.
And for a very large defenseman, he’s scored a fairly respectable 661 points in a little more than 1,100 games, as well as being a six-time All-Star and owning one of those cute little copies of the Hart and the Norris Trophies. On top of that, he’s helped Team Canada win a World Championship and two Olympic gold medals. What more do you want from the man?
It amuses me reading different blogs and watching various sports shows. It appears that the media, both here and on the northern side of the 49th parallel, expect that since he’s a veteran and a Stanley Cup champion that he’s in the same vein of interview as Sidney Crosby or Johnny Toews. Well, kids, he ain’t. He never has, never will be; and for God’s sake stop having the nerve to look so surprised.
Photo: Chris Pronger from The Associated Press/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz