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Stanley Cup Final

Pronger weighs in on long-distance Finals

Saturday, 05.28.2011 / 11:28 PM / 2011 Stanley Cup Final - Canucks v Bruins

By Emily Kaplan - NHL.com Staff Writer

It's more than a 3,000-mile journey from Vancouver to Boston.

And for the Canucks and Bruins, the two teams facing off in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, that trip will be both exhausting and exhilarating.

"It will be nothing like these players have ever experienced before," said Flyers alternate captain Chris Pronger.

If there's anybody who knows about long travels deep into the NHL playoffs, it's Pronger.

The 6-foot-6 defenseman has participated in two Stanley Cup Finals that required cross-continent treks. Pronger played for Edmonton in 2006 when the Oilers played the Hurricanes in the Final, then won a Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks, who played their series against the Ottawa Senators.

In a recent interview with NHL.com, Pronger talked about those experiences and offered some insight on what it will be like for Boston and Vancouver to participate in a Stanley Cup Final that requires some serious traveling.

"I don't know if it necessarily affects your game," Pronger said. "But you're taking up a whole day to travel when you're going from the West to the East, because of the time change, so that certainly requires some adjustment."

Pronger said the pre-game skates have an added importance in a series like this, as players try to "get their legs underneath them" and work the jet lag out.

However the biggest concern players have to deal with is hydration.

"Flying dehydrates you, and we're already fairly dehydrated through the course of the playoffs," Pronger said. "A lot of times players get IVs and all sorts of things when they land just to try to get as hydrated as they can."

Pronger said he drinks a lot of water during flights between games -- usually 12 or 16 ounces for every hour he is on the plane.

"So you're taking a lot of trips to the bathroom on a five-hour plane," he said, with a laugh.

If one team has an upper-hand in a cross-continent Final, it's probably the Western Conference team, Pronger said.

"You always hear people talking about how the Eastern Conference teams don't travel much and they're not used to doing that long travel and the Western teams are," he said. "So sometimes I feel like those Western teams have the advantage a lot of the time, going from the East to the West."

However Pronger said that teams are usually "so much in the zone by that point, it doesn't even become a factor."

"You get a big boost, especially on teams that have guys that have never been there," Pronger said. "You're very excited, you've finally reached the Finals and you're just one step away from winning the Stanley Cup. At that point, being tired really doesn't factor in to any part of the equation."


For me, it's a great win for our hockey team and for a lot of people back in Columbus, especially our fans in particular … people who have been devoted to this organization, it's big.

— Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards on their win vs. the Penguins in Game 2, the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup Playoff victory