Pronger’s Mind Games

His Flyers may be down by two games in their Stanley Cup Final series against the Chicago Blackhawks, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Pronger from playing some serious head games.

Pronger has twice taken the game puck after the final horn sounded. In both games, he skated down towards where the Blackhawks were celebrating and snagged it. In Game 2, Pronger was confronted by Chicago’s Ben Eager.

“He’s been picking up pucks after the game, and I just told him he can keep it,” Eager said.

Pronger shot a towel at Eager too, but remained his usual self in the media scrum after the game when reporters asked him about it.

“I don’t know, did I?,” he said. “Wow. You’re intuitive. Good for you. Next.”

Pronger’s sarcastic responses to the press have been pretty commonplace, especially through these Finals. After being asked about what Eager said to him, Pronger replied that he didn’t “speak that language” and went on to explain that he had thrown the pucks in the garbage.

“I guess little things amuse little minds,” he added.

Whether Pronger’s mind games and attitude will have an impact remains to be seen, of course. One has to wonder about his antics and if they’ll amount to little more than a distraction for his own team and, probably more likely, himself.

Still, it’s hard to argue with his performance thus far. Pronger’s been logging monstrous amounts of ice time, for starters, and has done relatively well at containing the Blackhawks’ key forwards in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

Pronger has had to be the team’s emotional leader throughout these playoffs and he’s been doing well in the role that he knows well. He’s far from resigned to defeat and fully believes in his teammates, never hiding from the toughness of the task at hand but never succumbing to the pressure to be negative.

“Yeah, I think we need to play with more desperation than we did, like the third period,” Pronger said. “We need to play with that passion, energy, drive, determination, like we did in the third through the whole game. It needs to be 60 minutes.”

There’s no word yet on whether Pronger has designed on picking up the game puck from the next contest, but you can bet he’ll be ready with more attitude and more ferocity when it comes to facing his opponents. With a team taking its cues from him, he’ll have to give it everything he’s got. To use an awful cliche that Pronger would doubtlessly give me hell for: game 3 is a must-win.

Posted by Jordan Richardson.

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