“Chris, can you tell us what you were doing on that disallowed goal in front of Kiprusoff?”
“Certainly, my good man! I was screening him with my hand. I realized almost immediately it was an infraction so stopped, but it was too late. I got caught with the Sean Avery rule.”
Of course, this is Chris Pronger we’re talking about. He who steals the hearts of Edmontonians, pucks of the opposition’s game winning goals, and new to his repertoire, points for his team.
Pronger admitting his borderline gaffe is about as likely as the Grinch electing to keep the toys and not having an epiphany atop Mount Crumpet after so many years of caving. But make no mistake, ‘Pronger-Lou Who’ infringed upon the rule and got caught doing so.
The fact he spent numerous days in the wake attempting to grey the line between his on-ice actions versus the rules ‘as written’, and then citing alternative interpretations to his actions essentially tells us all we need to know: he screwed up and wants to find a loophole out rather than put on his big-boy pants.
There’s certainly a point to be made about comparing what he did versus Avery’s actions in the playoffs that lead to this rule taking shape. Was it as bad or glaring? Of course not. However, not every play and infraction will follow the ruling to the letter nor be as obvious in its detriment. Cheating a little bit is still cheating by definition.
Amazingly, #20 on Philadelphia felt he was not violating the rule. Imagine that. To go one further, captain Mike Richards also echoed those sentiments. Color me not surprised. And the real head turner? Mikka Kiprusoff feels completely the opposite of both men.
While violators and teammates will almost always stick together in these situations (I said almost, right Avery?), there comes a point where overstating and speaking in lunacy begins to get work against you. Richards for his part said all the right things in support of his teammate, albeit a sentence too late.
Shortly after Pronger elected to cling to “I was directing traffic” as his alibi, Richards must have felt sorry for him and realized that the Internet is a funny thing in that people can review the play and realize that, if the burly defenseman was in fact directing traffic, he should probably be doing so in the tutu and figure skates Chicago’s media suited him up in a while back. At least then he would come across as completely insane and look quite dapper in the process.
So Richards dug into ‘Ye Olde Book of Excuses’ himself and initially suggested he thought Pronger was waving that he was open for a pass. I guess in wanting to save face with his own whimsical explanation and realizing someone might ask why a $69 million dollar man’s pass was three feet high, he quickly overrode his verbiage and merely took the ship an entirely new direction in suggesting his team didn’t play well enough to win regardless. Nice save.
In the end, the onus was on Pronger himself as the actions were completely his doing. His tall tale explanations and bully replies to the media notwithstanding, he was doing something out of the norm with his giant man-paw in front of the net last week , and the best that referee Ghislain Hebert could link it with was the aforementioned ‘Sean Avery rule’. The fact he waited a few seconds to make the call may be true, but it took Pronger more than a few seconds himself to stumble onto “I was directing traffic” as his line in the sand.
It seems nobody knows, or is willing to own up to, what transpired on that play. Luckily we have referees acting as the final word of the law to make an unbiased decision in the form of a third party. Some days the decision goes your way, other days not. And if you don’t like the call against you on a play you can’t seem to explain either, just avoid the conflict altogether and keep your hands to yourself. There’s no debate to be had if you stick to playing hockey instead of testing boundaries.
Yes, the Who’s down in Whoville, the tall and the small, didn’t buy his silly little story at all. Pronger-Lou Who with his stories so lame, took his hand off his stick and cost Philly the game.