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Chris Pronger a reluctant thank you for the memories


yave1964
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Let me start this by making it clear I HATED Chris Pronger early in his career, he was second only to Claude Freakin Lemieux as the player I would most like to run over with a zamboni. Even more than Patrick statue of liberty Roy or Eric legion of broom Lindros, it was Pronger second only to Lemieux.

Pronger broke in with the helpless Hartford Whalers, a pathetic organization, Mike Keenan traded Brendan Shanahan from the Blues for Pronger, in one of the most unpopular trades in the organizations history. Iron Mike would not survive long enough in St. Louis to see his faith in this tall skinny blueliner prove sound, but Pronger would go on to be one of the most popular players in Blues history.

Pronger hit anyone and everyone, no respect for captains or untouchables, and he scored. And he could score. I swear of the ten goals a year that he averaged with the blues five of them seemed to come against my Wings, and at the most back breaking times. And he would rough up Steve Yzerman more than any player ever, and would take the retaliation and go back and do it again. and again. And he would stand out there at center ice, just looking like a man with no fear.

We faced the Blues in the playoffs, he if anything upped his game. The man had no weaknesses.

After the lockout season he was dealt to the Oilers.The blues went from 91 points to 57, missing the playoffs for the first time since before Pronger had arrived. The Oilers went from 89 points and missing the playoffs to 95, Pronger in 24 playoff games scored 21 points, leading the oilers to upsets, first over my Wings as he humiliated Yzerman and made him look like an old man as Stevie was in his final season, then running over the Ducks and Sharks before losing the cup in seven games to the Hurricanes. Pronger seemed to play 40 minutes a game, was all over the ice, and his personal will carried a mediocre team much further than they deserved. He left after one season, and Edmonton has not returned to the playoffs since.

With anaheim he along with Neidermayer led the Ducks to their best two seasons ever, with 110 and 102 points, In 2007, the two of them willed this young talented team to a stanley cup, by force of will and body they destroyed the much more skilled Red Wing and Senator squads, Remember the two of them crushing Holmstrom against the boards so hard that he had no idea where he was. Pronger was suspended for a game for that viscious hit, as well as a stanley cup final game for destroying Dean Mcammond, knocking him out cold with as crushing a hit as you will ever see.

He left Anaheim and came to Philly, the ducks fell from 102 points to 91. The Flyers slipped during the regular season and with a very average team snuck in to the playoffs as Boucher bested Lundquist in a shootout. Pronger again carried a very average team to the cup finals, in 23 games scoring 18 points with 36 penalty minutes. They finally ran out of gas and goalies in the finals to Chicago. Philly was reestablished as a hockey power.

Pronger is of course a case in point for visors, as his concussion issues have derailed his career. Somewhere along the way in St. Louis I grew a deep grudging appreciation and respect for his game, he asked no quarter and gave none. He broke my heart in 2006, as a Wing fan we all wanted Yzerman to go out a winner, instead he went out being shoved off the ice by this tall skinny jerk who I had hated for ten years. 2007 was supposed to be revenge, but his Messier like will carried his team past us again. After losing for a decade to the Wings, he had finally learned that he had to acheive a higher gear, something that you would never have convinced me was possible, but the man did it. I rooted so hard for him in his impossible quest season in 2010, finally able to appreciate this great player after so many years of hating him. He is the ultimate warrior and needs to be held in the same pantheon as Esposito and Messier, a man capable of carrying a pedestrian team on his six foot six shoulders much further than they have any business going. He is a MAN. I sincerely wish him well in his recovery and with his life after hockey.

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@yave1964

That was a great write up, thank you for taking the time to do it. I too hated Pronger, but always wanted him to be a Flyer. I got my wish and enjoyed every minute he was on the ice suited up for the O&B.

I have been reading people comparing cooke to Pronger which has left my hands clenched in fists of rage, Pronger was as good of a bad guy as the game has known in the last twenty five years, got his share of suspensions, all deserved. But he was a winner and is a no doubt first ballot hall of famer. That clown Cooke is never going to the hall of fame unless he buys a ticket.
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Nice read! I'm a huge fan of Pronger and his game and you definitely explained all the reasons why. He is a beast and I miss him every game! I hope to God that his issues will not follow him for the rest of his life. The man deserves much more for all he gave to the game of hockey!!!

Thanks for the words. Just a reminder of how much he's missed on our team!

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@yave1964 Excellent work!! That was a great read. I loved seeing him suit up for the O&B....as per usual, we did not get to see him at his best...but when you make a trade like that, you want at least one long run, a run where you get a game or two from Lord Stanley, a spot where anything can happen (what happened was Michael Leighton, but that's a story for another day). Chris gave us that shot, I honestly believe with all my heart we would not have got that far without him.

He was not able to skate to well during that run, relying more on instinct, sound positioning and that ever present wingspan to cut off passing lanes. His experience was invaluable, his point production shot up like he was still in his prime. I agree, that is 100% a MAN'S MAN. I have no proof, but I would venture to guess he lives hockey off the ice as well, eating right, working out, going to bed early...an additude that would soon make the Flyers dressing room a volitile mix of party's vs dedication (I also believe that's one of the things Snider wanted to accomplish when he acquired Chris).

Funny, you mentioned Messier, because Chris is one of the few players/captains that should be mentioned along side him in the same breath. Tremendous leader, amazing tenacity, legendary physicality....a guy who wanted to win more than anything else, a guy you could go to war with and be proud he shared the same bunker. Edit, forgot to metion the wicked shot and passing, but we all know about that anyways).

Edited by jammer2
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I have been reading people comparing cooke to Pronger which has left my hands clenched in fists of rage, Pronger was as good of a bad guy as the game has known in the last twenty five years, got his share of suspensions, all deserved. But he was a winner and is a no doubt first ballot hall of famer. That clown Cooke is never going to the hall of fame unless he buys a ticket.

Sorry - other than the skill set, there is not much difference between the two. I wish Pronger a full recovery and he absolutely deserves to be in the H of F. But...he is one of the biggest POS to ever lace up a pair of skates. Ever.

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Sorry - other than the skill set, there is not much difference between the two. I wish Pronger a full recovery and he absolutely deserves to be in the H of F. But...he is one of the biggest POS to ever lace up a pair of skates. Ever.

No dispute that Pronger was/is one of the biggest turd piles ever to play the game, my point was/is his talent level, leadership skills winning game that he has played far exceed anything Cooke has played with in his best game ever in the NHL. I hate Cooke, cant stand that type of player, I feel they are a waste in a great game. Pronger on the other hand, plays the villian as well as anyone, and is someone who I love to hate and grudgingly respect as a winner.
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No dispute that Pronger was/is one of the biggest turd piles ever to play the game, my point was/is his talent level, leadership skills winning game that he has played far exceed anything Cooke has played with in his best game ever in the NHL. I hate Cooke, cant stand that type of player, I feel they are a waste in a great game. Pronger on the other hand, plays the villian as well as anyone, and is someone who I love to hate and grudgingly respect as a winner.

Pronger's talent level is not an excuse and does not add any "shine" to a pretty bad resume. Flipside, Cooke's lack of Pronger's talent level (he's a pretty effective 3rd liner and PK guy unlike most "goons" who can barely skate) doesn't make his any worse. Pronger doesn't really play the villain...he is one.

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I appreciated the post @yave1964, I have similar feelings towards Scott Stevens.

Grudging respect for a warrior who wins but deserves it sometimes is hard to give, admiring their game and style can be even harder, lol. I only have one player, Claude Lemieux who I never ever ever if I live to be 100 will be able to say anything nice about. Other than he won everywhere he went.

There you go. The argument that people use for Cooke, comparing him to Pronger are unjust and unfair to Pronger, but Cooke stacks up nicely compared to Lemieux. Both forwards, both dirty, both second or third liners, I guess the only difference is Lemieux elevated his game come post season and was the money player of his generation. So maybe Cooke compares better to Chris Simon.

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Grudging respect for a warrior who wins but deserves it sometimes is hard to give, admiring their game and style can be even harder, lol. I only have one player, Claude Lemieux who I never ever ever if I live to be 100 will be able to say anything nice about. Other than he won everywhere he went.

There you go. The argument that people use for Cooke, comparing him to Pronger are unjust and unfair to Pronger, but Cooke stacks up nicely compared to Lemieux. Both forwards, both dirty, both second or third liners, I guess the only difference is Lemieux elevated his game come post season and was the money player of his generation. So maybe Cooke compares better to Chris Simon.

Cooke was a 20 goal scorer last year with no power play time and only third line minutes. He DOES have some talent, just needs to stay away from that dirty side that can rear its ugly head.

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@yave1964

<<< Cooke compares better to Chris Simon. >>>

Laughable. Either you are just a plain ol' Matt Cooke hater (which is fine - easy to do) or you really have no idea what are some of the things Pronger and Simon have been suspended for. Cooke is no saint and I HATE the way Pens fans are made to "defend" him when some pretty outrageous things are said but nothing Matt Cooke has done will ever compare to Pronger and especially Chris Simon.

Ask Simon and Pronger about INTENTIONALLY cutting guys with their skates (in Simon's case that's probably not among the "top" 3 or 4 incidents he's been suspended for).

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B21, Nope I consider myself somewhat of a hockey historical buff, have books upon books and magazines upon magazines. Lets look at Simon and Cooke.

GP G A pts pim career high

Cooke 902 147 197 344 1050 19-19-38

Simon 782 144 161 305 1824 29-20-49

Pretty damn similar, if you factor in the fact that they were/are two of the most hated players of their era......

Now lets look at Pronger, a blue liner....

Pronger 1167 157 541 698 1590

I can only assume that you are a person who uses no statistical evidence to back up claims just insults and rants which offer nothing to move the discourse forward. Obviously, one of these things is not like the others, Cooke and Simon are truly similar players, statisticly speaking as well as how they were viewed in their eras. Pronger is worth more than the two of them combined.

And again, in case you missed it the first half a dozen times, I hated Pronger forever and lived for the day someone would lay his skinny butt out cold on the ice but grudgingly respected his game.

Pronger in his career has outscored Cooke and Simon COMBINED even though they played over six hundred more games than him. Try apples and apples pal, these two are nothing like Pronger.

Edited by yave1964
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B21, Nope I consider myself somewhat of a hockey historical buff, have books upon books and magazines upon magazines. Lets look at Simon and Cooke.

GP G A pts pim career high

Cooke 902 147 197 344 1050 19-19-38

Simon 782 144 161 305 1824 29-20-49

Pretty damn similar, if you factor in the fact that they were/are two of the most hated players of their era......

Now lets look at Pronger, a blue liner....

Pronger 1167 157 541 698 1590

I can only assume that you are a person who uses no statistical evidence to back up claims just insults and rants which offer nothing to move the discourse forward. Obviously, one of these things is not like the others, Cooke and Simon are truly similar players, statisticly speaking as well as how they were viewed in their eras. Pronger is worth more than the two of them combined.

And again, in case you missed it the first half a dozen times, I hated Pronger forever and lived for the day someone would lay his skinny butt out cold on the ice but grudgingly respected his game.

Pronger in his career has outscored Cooke and Simon COMBINED even though they played over six hundred more games than him. Try apples and apples pal, these two are nothing like Pronger.

If you meant to compare actual skill sets when you compared Cooke to Simon then yes - I agree 100% that they are very similar with Pronger clearly being above both of them.

I took your comment as you comparing what Simon has done over his career to warrant suspensions versus Pronger and versus Cooke...seeing as how we were debating who was the dirtiest between them. Simon was an interesting and not-so-random throw in just for statisitcs' sake since he is quite possibly THE dirtiest player ever to play.

So again - we agree on where Pronger, Cooke and now Simon rank as far as their actual hockey skills. If you want to keep going with the "who is the dirtiest player?" argument then by all means...carry on. I'll go Simon then Pronger then Cooke a distance 3rd.

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B21,

Just wanted to put something in here from a Wings fan wishing a recovery and offering my grudging respect for a player who I hated for the longest time but now recognize as the winner that he is. Like a Claude Lemieux or Tiger Williams or Dave Schultz he is easy to hate when he is on the other team and love when he plays for you, lol. No offense meant, none taken on my end, I would agree with your ranking of the three of them for dirty play.

The big difference with Pronger is that his skill made him so much more than a goon, so much more than a pariah on skates. When I put this up I sat down with the wife and looked up all the Pronger hits on youtube, my God the man mauled like an animal. But nobody can deny that he won, St. Louis took nearly a decade to return to form after he left, Edmonton has missed the playoffs every season without him, Anaheim wandered through the wilderness, and look at the mess that is the blue line in Philly right now. He was so much more than a goon, he was a brilliant hockey player who chose to wear the black hat, not because he had to to survive in the game but because that is what he needed to do to win.

Good win for your guys today. I have Fleury as my primary fantasy goalie.

Edited by yave1964
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@yave1964 " Nope I consider myself somewhat of a hockey historical buff, have books upon books and magazines upon magazines."

I have every Hockey News Draft Preview from 1980 on....I have over 500 hockey magazines. I have one where the headline screams "Who is better, Trottier or Gretzky?"...ha ha!

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B21,

Just wanted to put something in here from a Wings fan wishing a recovery and offering my grudging respect for a player who I hated for the longest time but now recognize as the winner that he is. Like a Claude Lemieux or Tiger Williams or Dave Schultz he is easy to hate when he is on the other team and love when he plays for you, lol. No offense meant, none taken on my end, I would agree with your ranking of the three of them for dirty play.

The big difference with Pronger is that his skill made him so much more than a goon, so much more than a pariah on skates. When I put this up I sat down with the wife and looked up all the Pronger hits on youtube, my God the man mauled like an animal. But nobody can deny that he won, St. Louis took nearly a decade to return to form after he left, Edmonton has missed the playoffs every season without him, Anaheim wandered through the wilderness, and look at the mess that is the blue line in Philly right now. He was so much more than a goon, he was a brilliant hockey player who chose to wear the black hat, not because he had to to survive in the game but because that is what he needed to do to win.

Good win for your guys today. I have Fleury as my primary fantasy goalie.

All good. I would never take issue with a thanks/tribute like that. It was the "...comparing cooke to Pronger which has left my hands clenched in fists of rage..." comment that kinda t'd me off. I'll never compare their actual hockey skills. There is no comparison. But the suspensions, histories, et al? Different story.

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