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Pronger goes from idol to opponent for Seabrook

by Dan Rosen / Chicago Blackhawks
Brent Seabrook says he modeled parts of his game from Philadelphia's Chris Pronger.

CHICAGO -- Brent Seabrook was confident -- yet totally intimidated.

If it wasn't enough that the Chicago Blackhawks' defenseman was already in Calgary and among Canada's best players at the Olympic Orientation Camp, he had to find out that his roommate for the five days was none other than Chris Pronger, the player he idolized as a kid growing up in Richmond, B.C.

Should Seabrook let Pronger in on the secret and tell the 6-foot-6 giant in the hockey world that he was his favorite player?

"I thought about that for a couple of days," Seabrook said, "and then I finally told him."

Pronger's reaction?

"He sort of laughed," Seabrook said. "I just went up to him and said, 'I don't know if this sounds bad, but I just had to tell you that you were my favorite player growing up.' I don't know if he felt old or what, but he was a great guy and it was really nice.

"I thought it was pretty cool, but I don't know what he thought."

Pronger thought it was pretty cool, too.

"It's always an honor when young stars in the League say they idolized you when they were growing up and they enjoyed watching you play," Pronger said Thursday.

Seabrook still enjoys watching Pronger play, and he credits the star defenseman for a lot of the skills and hockey knowledge that he'll bring with him into the Stanley Cup Final against Pronger's team, the Philadelphia Flyers.

"I watched him a lot growing up. I really liked the way he played the game and I tried to watch him on the ice for his positioning," Seabrook said. "His passing is still the best in the League for a defenseman, and I really tried to be good on passing and the physical part. He's really got it all, and I tried to take pieces of him and put it in my game."

Seabrook said his father was also a big Pronger fan and would pick up on a lot of his tendencies as well.

"He was a lot of fun to watch and a great player," Seabrook said. "He still is."

Pronger is apparently a great mentor, too, because once Seabrook got his big secret off his chest he was able to speak freely to his boyhood idol during the downtime at the summer camp.

"He's a great kid that I enjoyed getting to know and just talk about the game with," Pronger said. "He would ask me a lot of questions. We would come back after practices or after the inter-squad game and talk about things he did well, things he can work on, things that I saw that maybe they didn't see.

"He would ask me about different plays, 2-on-1s, 3-on-2s and things like that," Pronger added. "It was little things about the game and it was nice to see that he was interested and he wanted my opinion on different things. I know how I was growing up, and that's how you're going to learn, by asking questions."

Ironically, the advice might help Seabrook take down his old idol in the Stanley Cup Final.

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl

Author: Dan Rosen | Staff Writer

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