2010 Stanley Cup Finals: Why Is Chris Pronger Such a Jerk?

Matt Hutter@mahutter12Analyst IJune 8, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - JUNE 02:  Head coach Peter Laviolette and Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers look on from the bench in Game Three of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks at Wachovia Center on June 2, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)
Andre Ringuette/Getty Images

Before we get into this, let me clarify a few things.

One, I understand Chris Pronger is one of the toughest guys to go against in the NHL and plays the game with an edge, who often steps over the painfully thin line that separates aggressive play and malicious intent. I have no problems with these things.

Two, I thought the coverage of the whole "puck thievery" hoopla was stupid and ridiculous, and couldn't care less about Pronger's or anyone's actions when it comes to swiping game pucks.

Three, while I have no love for Chris Pronger, I believe him to be one of the best defenseman to emerge in the NHL over the last 25 years.

He's also a jerk. Well, he's a little more than that, but I'm trying to keep this PG.

If you take a look at Pronger's turn at the mic on Tuesday at the Stanley Cup Finals Game Six presser , you'll get a taste of what I'm talking about.

Pronger is clearly no fan of the media and his outrageous, almost always condescending reactions to questions have become their own little sideshow throughout the Stanley Cup Finals.

Now, I get gamesmanship and head games and I'm all in favor of chirping—on the ice.

I've played hockey for years, and while I've never played at a level remotely close to the NHL, there are some things that are universal to the game. Whether played at the highest level or in a Friday night over-30 league.

I've said things to opposing players and even refs on the ice that I'd never say to the exact same people were we to meet on the street.

Bad things, offensive things, things I drug their poor mothers into, things that have no place or justification in any setting outside of a 200 x 85 foot, glass enclosed sheet of ice.

I have no doubt Pronger has said infinitely worse things than I have to players and refs throughout his career, and I not only understand, but sympathize with his actions.

But journalists are not opponents and columnists are not referees.

So, why does Chris Pronger answer questions regarding adjustments the Flyers need to make in Game Six by making derogatory remarks about the journalists' hair?

Why does he take such pleasure in being mean-spirited and condescending to people that are simply trying to talk hockey with a professional hockey player?

I don't think media people deserve any special treatment or recognition, but common decency hardly falls into either category.

As a professional hockey player, why even waste the time abusing journalists, making yourself look like an ass in the process?

If he's so disgusted by members of the media, why not simply decline interviews and abstain from press conferences?

Let me stress that, my indignation here is not born out of any particular love or respect for the media or journalists in particular.

I cannot find a reason for a world-class athlete, who's won a championship and is currently playing for another, with multiple millions of dollars in his checking account, to act so unprofessional and arrogant towards people who are simply trying to report on a game.

Even if some of those people have a grudge against Pronger, or some bias towards making him out to be a villain, why give them the satisfaction of video evidence proving their assertions correct?

Again, my issue isn't with what he's saying, but who he's saying it to.

If he wants to degrade someone's haircut, why not go after Patrick Kane's goofy mullet?

If he wants to condescend someone in public, why not Dustin Byfuglien or Ben Eager?

Even though doing so from a podium is a little less effective, trash-talking the opposition is a perfectly acceptable practice.

When did the media become Chris Pronger's opposition?

In the end, some people simply do not have the ability to keep their mouth shut, realize what an unbelievable opportunity life has given them and be a professional.

Clearly, Chris Pronger is one of those people, I just can't figure out why.


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