Friday, 21 September 2007

It's Better To Just Shut Up

The guy you see to the left is one of those Anaheim Ducks who will be flying off to start the season in London, England against the Los Angeles Kings in eight days. Chris Pronger has remained relatively unscathed on this blog mostly due to me not caring about the drama that goes on in his or his wife's lives. However, Mr. Pronger needs to a learn a valuable lesson when it comes to speaking: knowing when to shut up. He did it well when he wouldn't blame his wife for the trade out of Edmonton to a warmer climate where she can tan like she's an important member of society, and where she can spend money like it is going out of style. However, in a conference call on Thursday morning, Mr. Pronger might have taken a page out of his own book.

The Vancouver Sun posted an article about the conference call on their website. Written by Peter James, the article shows that not only does Chris Pronger never want to be a part of European hockey, he has some sort of disdain for European hockey and a possible NHL expansion to Europe. Please read Mr. James' article below.

"Chris Pronger is going to start his season in Europe this month, but he wouldn't want to start his career across the pond.

"The Anaheim Ducks defenceman believes NHL expansion to Europe wouldn't work because some North American-raised players would be unwilling to report to European teams.

"'How are you going to run the draft?' Pronger asked during a conference call Thursday. 'Are you going to take a Canadian kid and ship him off to Europe?'

"The Ducks will face off against the Los Angeles Kings in London on Sept. 29 and again on Sept. 30. They play the Canucks this Sunday.

"Pronger, 32, said the London event is a great opportunity to grow the game in a new market.

"'Obviously there's a purpose to going to England and opening the new building for the Kings owners,' he said, referring to the Anschutz Entertainment Group who own the Kings, Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy and operate the O2 arena in London.

"But Pronger believes there are too many hurdles preventing the NHL from putting teams in Europe permanently.

"For instance, he said it wouldn't be practical to create a league where European-born players play on the European teams and the North American-born players stay on this side of the Atlantic."

Mr. Pronger makes a couple of good points, but the problem I have is this one: "Are you going to take a Canadian kid and ship him off to Europe?"

I don't know if Mr. Pronger has ever heard of Teemu Selanne, Samuel Pahlsson, Ilya Bryzgalov, Jussi Markkanen, Ales Hemsky, Radek Dvorak, Jaroslav Spacek, Sergei Samsonov, Dick Tarnstrom, Pavol Demitra, Petr Cajanek, Alexander Khavanov, Ladislav Nagy, or Michal Handzus, but he should hopefully recognize some of them. After all, they were all his teammates at one point. I'm pretty sure all those players are not Canadian or American kids, but European kids who chose to cross the ocean to play hockey. Why is it wrong for Canadian kids to play in Europe, but perfectly fine for European kids to play in North America?

What about the Canadian kids who choose to go over to Europe? Are they lesser hockey players in Mr. Pronger's mind? Guys like former Stanley Cup winner Paul DiPietro, Patrick Lebeau and Kelly Fairchild chose European hockey over the North American minor-league system, and they've done fairly well for themselves. DiPietro has won as many Stanley Cups as Mr. Pronger has, so I don't think he's really missing out on anything other than the ridiculous salaries tied to NHL players.

I understand there would be benefits and drawbacks to being drafted to a European-based team if you're a Canadian kid. However, if someone wants to pay you to play hockey for a professional team, my only question would be "why aren't your bags packed". Playing hockey for money is a privilege very few people get in this world. Playing hockey for money while travelling across Europe is an opportunity even less receive. I just don't see how Mr. Pronger can criticize someone else's way of life without walking a mile in his or her shoes.

NHL hockey in Europe is still a long way off. There are problems with the IIHF and transfer agreements that the NHL needs to work out first before anything like this can even be considered. However, Mr. Pronger needs to keep his mouth shut, especially when giving an opinion like he did can ultimately hurt the NHL in Europe. Honestly, I always thought Mr. Pronger wasn't as dumb as he let on. Now, I'm convinced he's received one puck too many to his head.

Sometimes, it's better to be thought a fool rather than opening one's mouth and removing all doubt. Words to live by, indeed, Mr. Pronger.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

You have an excellent point. Pronger really DOES need to learn when to shut the hell up. He's always running his mouth and pissing people off, and now he has gotten so good at it, that he doesn't necessarily need to even open his mouth to piss people off.