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Making Them Work

Pronger and Byfuglien in Game 1

Making Byfuglien work

Tired of Byfuglien. Tired of being cranky with Byfuglien. Blew off so much steam I can’t even see, through the fog, why I was so cranky. I am a fickle foe, or just memory challenged. Maybe it will flair up again after this evening’s game. For so many reasons, I hope not.


Pronger. That “for now” didn’t last long. First stop, his wiki page.

No-no #1: beat Jágr for Hart trophy by one point. That is retroactively irksome.

No-no #2: stomped someone’s leg as a Duck. Blurb says the player was not injured, which I find hard to believe. If true, it suggests that Pronger is very much an aficionado on the subject of how to stop without maiming his subject. I may have to start calling him Bulldog. His type is closer to a Great Dane but bull-dogging is more his style.

No-no #3: threw a bad hit on Holmstrom:( Meanie!

He also elbowed someone in the head (and was caught doing it). He was suspended for that one and also the stomping, and this all before the latest hubbub about playing nice. So those must have been fairly ugly.

I do not care about bar room brawls or drunk driving, so long as no one got hurt… well, more than usual in a brawl anyway. He was a wild child.

Aha. I think I know what might have raised the ire of Sharks fans:

The 2008-09 season was quite successful for Pronger who played his 1000th career game on February 20, 2009. The Ducks would rally late in the season to jump into 8th place of the Western conference. They dispatched the President’s Trophy winner San Jose Sharks in six games before falling to the Detroit Red Wings in seven games. (from wiki)

I see. Well I admit I would hate him passionately (albeit briefly) too, as shown by my reaction to Byf. I see no spectacularly revolting acts, though stomping on someone’s leg is definitely borderline. I don’t want to see the video. It wasn’t a Shark or a Flyer so I’ll put it on the back burner for now. Besides, it still doesn’t come close to what that little Penguin twerp did.

Also, he seems to be set on staying with the Flyers until retirement. Apparently the contract drew some interest from the NHL’s legal team. What-ev. I’m not gonna blame a player for the incompetence or malfeasance of lawyers. If he wants to stay with the Flyers, he can’t be all bad. But he has to stop hitting people in the face with the stick, especially nice young fellows like Subban. That is just not cool.  Of course I know next to nothing about Subban, but I have not seen him hit anyone in the face with a stick so he seems like a nice guy.

Next stop, Pronger’s website.  Most player’s don’t seem to have websites, so the fact that he has one gives me pause.  I withhold judgment.

I found an all but empty section under his blog. Google spat out a number of references to said blog which appears to have been yanked from, like, everywhere. Hm. The one entry I found was fine, uninteresting for me because it talked about players I have never heard of. Still, it was fine, made good sense. Maybe he pulled it all and published it as a book or something. His brother’s blog seems like it is worth reading. Funny, personable. Will be good for the off season.

Have not asked on the boards to see why people dislike him. If it doesn’t make it to his wiki page, I don’t want to hear/see it… yet.

“It Is What It Is”

I’m starting to feel like the target audience here: Pronger’s was the first press conference featured on NHL on the Fly.  I have questioned why I watch that show, but then again, there is no other show for me to watch that can give me info on this game or the players.  There are other sports talk shows but I lack the patience (and the DVR space) to sift through a lot of stuff about ball games.  So, with salt shaker in hand, I persist.

I noticed a couple of themes in Pronger’s answers.  One of them was making others work.  He specifically mentioned that, while no one can really move Byfuglien around as you might be able to do with a smaller player, making him work is a good alternative.  Making him work to stay in position is doable and productive.  Aha, so that’s what all the wrastlin’ was about.

Pronger press conference

Making the media work, and campaign managers jealous

Pronger also made the journalists work.  He would make a good witness on the stand.  He nimbly avoided direct and leading questions about who would be in goal for the Flyers today, or who the other players wanted in goal.  His response was essentially “I won’t guess, it doesn’t matter, and you can’t make me give you a clue.”  He was far more agile than that, and these responses were spread out over several questions, but that was the gist of it.

He made a point of saying that the team did not see themselves as underdogs, that they knew they could win.  Someone asked how the team felt about the public perception that the Hawks are the favorites.  Almost sternly, Pronger pointed out that this view was promoted by the press, a press that has never been particularly reliable or responsible when it comes to assessing sports outcomes. He referenced some ball game. Hm.  So, Seabiscuit it is: the “pedigree” was always there, even if no one bothered to read it.

Someone asked him whether the Flyers’ disciplined game interfered with their ability to play a “more physical” style.  Pronger pointed out that this was a compound question and the journalist would have to clarify what she wanted him to answer.  Did she mean they should take more penalties, or can they play a more physical game?

We do love our euphemisms in this country.

Of course she didn’t mean to ask two questions, she simply prefaced her question with an unfounded assumption: discipline and “physical” are mutually exclusive.  She didn’t clarify.  Someone else jumped in and tried to help. Pronger pointed out that this was inappropriate, that she should ask her own question, which she never did manage to do.  Maybe she was befuddled, or maybe she was laughing too hard.  I wish there had been cameras on the press.  Pronger eventually relented and explained that they could play a more physical game without taking more penalties, without being less disciplined.

He got a few subtle barbs in at the Hawks.  He explained that his team needs to play their own game, not the Hawks’ game, giving the impression that the Hawks were playing a Hawksian game on Saturday.  In a press conference aired later, Blackhawks Coach Quenneville essentially did the same thing, sating that the Hawks had been playing badly, trying to play on the Flyers’ terms.  So everyone was basically saying “that was not our best, though it may have been theirs.”

One journalist asked how important it was for the team to “stay loose” on the off day.  He remarked that from what he had seen, they were “loose.” As an example of said  “looseness” he described Pronger’s presence at the press conference as “joking around here.” I could swear I saw a tiny shadow cross Pronger’s face at that one.  I can’t even remember what his answer was, because I was so overwhelmed by the daftness of the question and the assumption (more “assuquestions”?) that Pronger was “joking around.”  To me he seemed extremely sharp.  Jovial manner aside, he was playing the press with as much authority and focus as he played Byfuglien.

Of course you can see for yourself.  Sometimes I forget what century I’m in.  Pronger press conference clips here.  I often have trouble loading those videos, but maybe it’s just my connection.

I am glad I looked into that. I have a feeling I will be seeing quite a bit of Mr. Pronger in this series.

Another noteworthy defenseman for the Flyers has my attention? I am so bleeding predictable! But he is nothing like PS.  Aquarius versus Libra.  Hm.  Compatible air signs.  But one born in the Year of the Horse, the other Year of the Tiger… nuthin’ like.   I want to think well of Pronger.  I was certainly predisposed to do so, maybe Petr set me up.

I see circles, full ones. Hm.

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