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Flyers turn news conferences into standup acts despite trailing in Stanley Cup series

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

PHILADELPHIA - Peter Laviolette and Chris Pronger could team up for a standup act once the Stanley Cup final are done.

Even though the Philadelphia Flyers trail the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, their coach and top defenceman turned normally mundane news conferences into a comedy show Thursday.

Laviolette's exchange with a reporter who asked if he preferred his team has more success killing penalties or on the power play broke up the room.

"Are you serious?" a mystified Laviolette asked. "They're both important."

Amid bursts of laughter, another reporter on the opposite side of the room tried to ask a different question. But a perplexed Laviolette wasn't listening. Instead, he stared blankly at the first reporter.

"Is that not the answer that you were looking for? Do you want me to reword it and give you something better to write?" Laviolette said. "I mean, I see you shaking your head."

The reporter countered that former Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock would have preferred that his penalty-killing unit be more dominant.

"How would we have made out last night if we only had a good penalty kill?" Laviolette replied. "I'm just asking you how we would have made out last night under your perfect world."

The Flyers scored a pair of power-play goals in a 4-3 overtime victory on Wednesday to get back into the series.

"All right, then," Laviolette said.

Before his coach took the podium, Pronger tossed out some one-liners. But that's nothing new for the former NHL MVP, who seems to enjoy being in the spotlight.

Known for his agitating style on the ice, Pronger is considered a villain in Chicago.

"What did I do?" he deadpanned.

He was asked if he enjoyed the role. "Sure, it's old hat now," Pronger replied.

Tired of hearing questions about getting so much playing time, the 35-year-old Pronger joked about his age.

"I came down here in a wheelchair," he quipped.

He was asked why he wasn't sporting a playoff beard like his teammates.

"Too itchy," Pronger said. "That wasn't a good enough answer? I grew one before. It didn't work."

Pronger caused a stir by swiping the game puck at the end of each of Chicago's two wins in the series. But he didn't take it after teammate Claude Giroux scored in overtime in Game 3.

"Oh, you mean steal it?" he said. "I heard the term steal a couple times the other day. Do you have a rule book? I didn't know the winning team keeps the puck. Is that in the rule book?

"It wasn't in front of me like the other one was."

Pronger smiled, got up and walked off the stage, leaving a trail of laughter behind.

Game 4 of the series is Friday night.

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