Despite his team being down 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger appears to playing mind games with the Chicago Blackhawks.
As the final horn sounded Monday night at United Center, and the Blackhawks left the ice as 2-1 winners in Game 2, Pronger skated down and picked up the puck.
Pronger, who did the same thing after his Flyers lost Game 1 was met by Blackhawks forward Ben Eager on the ice, who called him on it.
Cameras caught Pronger shooting a towel at Eager when he complained, and there was a verbal exchange between the two. Both players received ten-minute misconduct penalties.
“He's been picking up pucks after the game, and I just told him he can keep it,” Eager, who scored the game winner on Monday night, said to reporters after the game.
After the game, Pronger was asked about shooting the towel at Eager.
"I don't know, did I?," answered Pronger. "Wow. You're intuitive. Good for you. Next."
Reporters then asked what took place in the verbal exchange.
"I don't speak that language, whatever he was speaking," said Pronger. "I couldn't hear him."
Where's the puck, Pronger was asked.
“It's in the garbage,” Pronger replied. “Where it belongs.”
He was then asked if he would sell the pucks on eBay.
“I don't know. Apparently, it got him upset. So I guess it worked, didn't it? It's too bad. I guess little things amuse little minds.”
He briefly faced the wrong way at the start of his postgame media scrum and then joked he wasn't in for any overtime when it came to answering their questions.
Pronger was a force once again in Game 2, logging 27:52 in ice time, the most of any player for the second straight contest.
The 35-year old has also been charged with the task of trying to help shut down the Blackhawks top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien, and for the most part he's done that job well. Only Byfuglien has their lone point in the series, an assist, and the trio have been held to a combined 10 shots on goal, with a plus/minus rating of -7
Throughout the playoffs, the Flyers have often taken their emotional cues from Pronger, who isn't ready to concede the series.
"Yeah, I think we need to play with more desperation than we did, like the third period," he said. "We need to play with that passion, energy, drive, determination, like we did in the third through the whole game. It needs to be 60 minutes."
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said it was not something the team discussed before or after Pronger took the pucks.
"I read it today on a website. I had no idea it happened and you guys are bringing it up," said Laviolette to reporters on Tuesday. "I can tell you we didn't talk about it in there (dressing room)... that didn't come up. We didn't talk about who's gonna steal the puck in Game 3."
Laviolette said he didn't see how Pronger's actions could be adding fuel to the Blackhawks' fire.
"What added incentive do they have now? They're mad? They're angry?," said Laviolette. "It's the playoffs. We are going to show up and compete like hell tomorrow night. I promise you that. I don't know what else they are going to do cause we stole their puck."
"I think it's kind of comical. If Chris Pronger wants the puck then he can have it as far as I'm concerned. I don't have any problems with that. I don't know what the big deal is."
It's your turn to express how you feel about Puck-Gate. That's Hockey's Gino Reda wants to know; "What do you think about Pronger's puck antics?" Tweet him at http://twitter.com/GinoRedaTSN, and select responses will be read this evening on That's Hockey at 7pm et/4pm pt.