Chicago is doing all they can to get inside the head of the Philadelphia Flyers best defender before tonight's Stanley Cup Final Game Six, including some seriously dirty tactics. A picture of Chris Pronger was edited to have him wearing a skirt in Tuesday's edition of the Chicago Tribune.
You would expect the high-tempered and hated Pronger to lash back at this outrageous lack of judgment by the Tribune, but surprisingly, Pronger held back during the press conferences yesterday.
"I don't read what you guys write, good or bad," Pronger said. "Next question, next question. I really couldn't care, to be honest with you. I'm worried about playing the game."
This is good to see from a guy who isn't generally liked by opposing fans because of the way he gets under his opponent's skin. Even earlier in this series, Pronger was criticized for stealing the game puck from the ice after losing Game One and Two, a clear violation of the unwritten rules of hockey.
Yes, Pronger has that history of being an agitator to the highest degree, but at least he isn't letting his type of tactics get under his own skin. Chicago can try all they want, but anything they say won't really affect how Pronger plays in Game Six. They just better hope he plays as bad as he did in Game Five when he posted a laughable -5 rating.
The real bad guy in this story is the Chicago Tribune. What kind of editor would allow this garbage to be prominently displayed in their newspaper?
The picture displayed on a large poster in the sports section is very offensive to women who play hockey or just women in general. It suggests that women are inherently inferior to men athletically, and have no place in a professional publication. It wouldn't be a surprise to see this kind of behavior from some random Blackhawks fan, but why would this professional organization embarrass themselves like this?
Of course, the editor has come out and apologized, but does that really matter? The damage is done and the end result has the Chicago Tribune looking really stupid and classless.
Surprisingly, Pronger comes out of this incident as the classy one, a far cry from the bad boy reputation he has built himself in his 16 NHL seasons.
We'll see how Pronger responds to this outlandish criticism and how he rebounds from his awful Game Five when the Flyers try to avoid elimination tonight.