Chris Pronger wins. He may not do it in the prettiest or cleanest way, but he has found a way as a veteran to help his teams win. The 6’6″ defenseman who won the 1999-00 Hart Trophy as the NHL’s MVP and paved the way for other, big, tall and physical players in the league has made the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons. Better yet, Pronger has played in three of the last five Stanley Cup Finals – for three different teams including the Philadelphia Flyers who are coming off a six game loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in this year’s Cup Finals.
Except when he is helping them win, not too many players like the controversial star. Adam Burish is one of those players and someone gave him a microphone to let him talk about that.
Burish, the Blackhawks’ right wing who only played in three of the team’s six Finals’ games and did not even see the ice in Game Six was celebrating the team’s victory when he was asked about his true thoughts on Chris Pronger. Burish lit Pronger up by saying, “I think Chris Pronger is the biggest idiot in the league. I can’t stand the guy one bit. I hope I never see him again. If I see him out there, I might punch him.”
Needless to say, Chris Pronger has a response to that. Chris Pronger joined Howard Eskin and Ike Reese on WIP in Philadelphia to discuss Burish’s comments, being picked on by the Blackhawks, if he thinks he is a dirty player, losing the Cup, and if he needs to play less minutes next season.
On Adam Burish’s comments:
“First, I guess the easiest thing is to say, don’t you have anything better to do after you won the Stanley Cup? Shouldn’t that be the furthest thing from your mind. But, on the other side of that, it just goes to show you how much I’m in his kitchen. Let me ask you this, did he play? (No) Well that tells you that. I don’t know how long he has been in the league, but he certainly has had his opportunities and he hasn’t done it yet. You know what? It is what it is. I’m not too worried about him… I don’t know the guy and I really don’t care. It’s not the first time somebody’s beaked me and it won’t be the last. Maybe I’ll run into him next year in the minors.”
On why Chicago picked on him:
“There always needs to be a villain. In any good rivalry, which always happens when you play a team in the playoffs, there always needs to be a villain. When you play a physical brand of hockey, it’s pretty easy to point someone out. I’m not going to back down. If you want to play physical, fine. I can play physical too.”
On if he considers himself a dirty player:
“I don’t play the game to make friends with my opponents. I play the game to win. If they want to go out there and hold hands and hug and kiss, they’re picking the wrong door. I’m going to play hard. If people want to call me dirty, I don’t care… If they want to come into the net, they’d better be willing to feel it. It’s not a game for boys.”
On losing in the Stanley Cup Finals:
“It’s still disappointing. It always is. We weren’t able to achieve what we set out at the beginning of the year to do and that’s to win the Cup. To come as close as we did, can you use that as a consolation prize, I don’t know? It still sucks. It still hurts. But the sun still came up today and we got to continue to work towards the same goal again next year. We can’t let the defeats get us down. We have to push ourselves.”
And on if he thinks he needs to play less minutes next year:
“I’ve been hearing that for a long time. It is what it is. There are some games when you play a lot and others when you don’t play as much. You always go into seasons talking about, ‘We want to cut back minutes. We want to get more depth. We want to get the six defenders involved.’… I don’t disagree with playing less minutes in the regular season. It can only benefit. The way you start the season will dictate that really. We didn’t give ourselves a chance to let guys play more this season because the way we played in November and December. At one point in January we were 14th in our conference.”