Friday, October 22, 2004


Chris Pronger: Whining the Blues

It seems that it’s not only fans, fringe players, ex-NHLers, and ‘independent’ auditors that are frustrated with the lack of talks between the NHL and the Players Guild.

Chris Pronger, the Blues lynchpin defenseman, is frustrated with having to stay home with the wife and kids, and he’s not afraid to show it.

"If all the energy we've seen being wasted on public relations could be spent negotiating a deal, we could probably be halfway done a deal," Pronger said earlier this week from his home in St. Louis.

"Realistically, who cares whose side you are on, neither one of us looks good," he said. "Nobody is going to be a winner in that deal."

"Ultimately the people who lose are the fans who are missing the game they love; the players who are missing the game they love playing and the owners who own their franchise and aren't getting anything out of it. Right now its lose-lose all the way around."

Apart from the fact that the NHLPA hasn’t spent a damn penny on any public relations (What is the use fighting that losing battle?), Pronger is pretty much dead-on, and it’s good to see one of the ‘star’ players realize this. Unlike Chelios, Pronger isn’t perched too far on his high horse to see that everyone is being punished in the battle of the big egos (Bettman and Goodenow).


What concerns me more, however, are the comments made by Pronger in an interview he had with Sportsnet. It’s not hard to see that Pronger wants out of St. Louis:

Dreger: So, it's a distinct possibility you will be wearing a different uniform whenever hockey resumes?

Pronger: "Very well, yeah. I think it's two things; one, they don't want me, two, they want me but maybe I want to be somewhere else, or three, maybe I just want to go somewhere else if I don't see the right team in St. Louis."

Dreger: What about 2 and 3 ... is it time?

Pronger: "Well, I've been there awhile. Very rarely do you see in sports where a player plays in the same city for his whole career. I haven't been in St Louis my whole career, but I've been there a good portion of it."

Dreger: You have a tough decision?

Pronger: "It is, but I've got to do what's good for my career. At this stage, a lot of time it's not about the money. I've made a lot of money over my career. I want to go somewhere and win! In our league it's very tough to pick who's going to win because you never know, but you can give yourself a good opportunity and whether that's in St Louis, whether that's somewhere else we'll see when the time comes to make that decision.”

While watching this interview on TV, it was very clear from his body language that Pronger was quite unhappy and looked like his wife had cheated on him with Tie Domi.


For a Blues fan, such as myself (They are still my 2nd favourite team until Pavol signs elsewhere), the whole house of cards has come crashing down rather quickly this past year. The Blues managed, by a thread, to hang on to their cherished streak of post-season appearances...but the end is nigh!

Al MacInnis...probably retired
Pavol Demitra...probably gone
Farm system...quite thin
Keith Tkachuk...albatross contract
Chris Pronger...ready to leave?

It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to realize that the Blues chances of capturing Lord Stanley are growing thinner with each passing season. If Pronger wants to jump off the Titanic before it sinks, then I can understand that.

It’s just the fact that he’s so resigned to it, as it the Blues betrayed him, that really irks me. Is he upset because the Blues ‘only’ made him the qualifying offer?

Why he is complaining about winning?

Hmm, let’s look at the Blues during his tenure.

1995-96 32-34-16-0 80PTS
1996-97 36-35-11-0 83PTS
1997-98 45-29-8-0 98PTS
1998-99 37-32-13-0 87PTS
1999-00 51-19-11-1 114PTS
2000-01 43-22-12-5 103PTS
2001-02 43-27-8-4 98PTS
2002-03 41-24-11-6 99PTS
2003-04 39-30-11-2 91PTS

Final Tally: only one losing season, playoff appearances every year, a President's Trophy winning team, and many great chances at the Stanley Cup. Pronger has won a Norris Trophy and has been paid very very very very very well during his tenure in St. Louis.

Yeah, they had the misfortune of being owned by the Red Wings like prison currency, but the Blues were one of the more competitive teams over the past decade.

There are 30 teams (unfortunately) in the NHL, which makes it even harder to win the Stanley Cup. Very few teams had been able to match the record of the Blues during Pronger’s tenure with the team. Pronger should at least be thankful that he’s had the good fortune to play for a good team for as long as he has.

If he wants to leave, then fine, but be grateful for what you’ve had.

And one more thing, Chris: Look in the mirror if you want to talk about playoff failures. When it comes to taking bad penalties and being roughed off of one’s game during the playoffs, you and Keith Tkachuk could write a prize-winning textbook on the subject.

Luckily for St. Louis, the Cardinals are in the World Series (yay!) and they don’t have to consider the Blues depressing future.

"Yeah, they had the misfortune of being owned by the Red Wings like prison currency, ..."

Oh yeah, you know it, Jes!

"... but the Blues were one of the more competitive teams over the past decade."

But the President's Trophy isn't the Cup and no one knows that better than Blues fans.
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