PHILADELPHIA — Chris Pronger has been giving the Flyers their money's worth this spring with his terrific, seemingly tireless play.
Behind the scenes, he's been pretty good value for the media, as well. At times self-deprecating, at times combative, at times playful, Pronger has made himself readily available pretty much every day in the post-season and has rarely disappointed. That said, he's been a confusing study at times, leaving observers uncertain as to his intent and attitude.
Today was a perfect example. Pronger patiently answered a long list of questions, many of which he's already answered a dozen times or more in these playoffs, but then grew testy over the issue of grabbing the pucks at the end of the game and attracting a little hate from Chicago's Ben Eager.
The Hawks, apparently, have been in the business of taking the game puck and putting it on display in their dressing room as they try for 16 pucks – signifying 16 wins – for the playoffs. But when they won Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final, Pronger took the game puck, angering Eager, among others.
It's a peripheral, five-day old issue, but it came up again today. Here's how the exhange went:
Q. How come you didn't pick up the puck last night?
CHRIS PRONGER: You mean steal it?
CHRIS PRONGER: I heard the term "steal" a couple of times the other day. I don't know, do you have the rule book? I didn't know the winning team was allowed to keep the puck. Is that a rule? Can you look in the rule book for me?
Q. One of your guys picked it up. How come you didn't pick it up? Was it decided in advance?
CHRIS PRONGER: No, it wasn't in front of me like the other one was. I don't know if you know this, but I picked up Game 1 too. You didn't notice that, did you?
And then he stormed off. Or got up and left.
What seems clear is that Pronger is taking an unusually active role in dictating these pressers, and the game's better for it. He's a lively personality with lots of ideas and thoughts on the sport.
Just gotta keep him talking. Doesn't seem to hurt his Hall of Fame game much.