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Pronger takes on all comers at press conference

by Mike G. Morreale
CHICAGO --  Ladies and gentlemen, live from United Center … Heeere's Pronger!
And so it began Sunday afternoon when Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger took the podium to provide his daily take on the state of hockey following a 6-5 setback to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night.
It could have been an education on how the Flyers need to shore up their defensive end, and while that was certainly part of Pronger's attack, he also offered a lighter side.
Pronger is never one to mince words. Oh, no. He routinely keeps the media on its toes with quick jabs and commentary whenever he deems it appropriate. And Sunday, he was in rare form, laughing and mixing it up for the reporters and television cameras.
It began with the second question of the day when he was asked about the matchup against Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien, who had his five-game goal-scoring streak snapped Saturday.

"There was a lot of talk," Pronger said. "You guys had a lot to say about him. So I guess we needed to calm that down real quick. I have played in the West for 14 years. I played against him a lot. So it's not like I've been out East for my whole career and never played against the guy. That may have been blown out of proportion."
Then came the query about his team being considered the underdog in the series two questions later.
"Favorite to who? To you guys?" Pronger quipped. "This crew in here? All that matters is what we think in that locker room. And that's it. Whether the world is picking them as favorites, we've all seen probably one of the most heavily favored Super Bowls, St. Louis against the New England Patriots (in 2002). That didn't turn out very well, did it? A lot of people lost money on that one.
"I don't really buy into the favorites, underdogs, all that."
When asked for his opinion on the possible goalie change, Pronger shrugged.
"That's news to me. Are you starting to stir the pot?" he asked. "It's news to me."
His questioner than admitted, "That's what your coach said," to which Pronger responded, "OK, maybe he's keeping you on your toes too."
Pronger, who has averaged a League-high 29 minutes in 18 playoff games, kept up the comedic routine when he was asked if playing almost 30-plus minutes was catching up to his 35-year-old body.
"It's exhausting, I don't know," Pronger said shaking his head. "I couldn't get up this morning. I don't even know how I'm sitting here. I almost fell asleep."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mike_morreale

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