PHILADELPHIA – The Chris Pronger puck caper is drawing more laughs than anger at the Stanley Cup final.
The Philadelphia Flyers veteran defenceman tried to get under the skin of the Chicago Blackhawks by swiping the puck at the end of the first two games of the best-of-seven series, perhaps depriving the favoured Hawks of a victory trophy.
As the teams skated off at the end of Game 2 of the best-of-seven final, Pronger skated down the ice to swipe the puck and was met by Blackhawks forward Ben Eager. The two got into a verbal exchange and Pronger was seen throwing a towel at Eager. Both received 10-minute misconducts.
Pronger did not address the issue Tuesday, but Flyers coach Peter Laviolette found no fault with his veteran defenceman’s version of psychological warfare. And he doesn’t see the Blackhawks looking for revenge.
”What added incentive do they have now?” Laviolette said Tuesday. ”They’re mad. They’re angry. It’s the playoffs.
“We’re going to show up and compete, I promise you that. I don’t know what else they’re going to do because we stole their puck.”
He said it wasn’t discussed at the Flyers’ team meeting.
”That did not come up,” he said. ”We did not talk about who is going to steal the puck in Game 3.”
Flyers captain Mike Richards grinned when asked for his thoughts about his six-foot-six teammate, one of the NHL’s toughest defencemen.
”I don’t have a problem with it,” he said. ”If (Pronger) wants to grab the puck, let him have the puck.
“You can tell him not to take it, if you want.”
The Blackhawks do not appear to making an issue of it, either.
”If he wants it, he can have it,” said forward Patrick Sharp. ”We’re thinking about hockey.”