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ITB: Pronger not actually injured, instead ‘occupying’ Lightning


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#1 SteveStirling

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Posted 01 December 2011 - 09:36 AM

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, widely reported to be injured this week, has actually been healthy, but has refused to leave his team’s defensive zone in Tampa Bay in an ongoing “Occupy Tampa” protest of the Lightning’s stifling trap system, ItB has learned.

Pronger has apparently not moved from what was the Flyers defensive zone in a Nov. 9 game against the Lightning, where the Flyers made headlines for refusing to move the puck against Tampa Bay, who in turn, refused to break their defensive trap system.

“Yeah, after a while we just spray-painted him white so no one would notice,” said Bjorn Johansson, a Tampa Bay ice crew member. “He keeps shouting ‘mic check’ too, but I’m not sure he understands how that works.”

The Flyers have attempted to cover up the embarrassing one-man protest in recent weeks, suggesting that Pronger was suffering from a virus and now, evidently preparing for the worst, saying the bruising defenseman is out after undergoing knee-surgery.

But  the Tampa Bay Lightning organization is growing frustrated with Pronger’s presence in the defensive zone of the St. Pete Times Forum and sources told ItB they are weighing their options to evict him.

“Chris Pronger’s continued protest creates a growing health and safety hazard at the St. Pete Times Forum,” Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman said this morning. “In that he repeatedly elbows any player that travels within the face-off circle. And stealing game pucks during play and denying it got really old, really quick.”

Reached for comment, Pronger explained his reasoning.

“Look, 99 percent of this world, actually 99.9 percent I’d venture to say, aren’t Chris Pronger. They can’t elbow the trap into oblivion like I can,” he said. “I’m protesting for all the non-Prongers out there. And it’s not just the trap.  I’m going to be here until there’s more parks in Winnipeg, until Zdeno Chara is charged with murder and until Teemu Selanne shares the fountain of youth with the rest of us.”

Pressed for comment, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren admitted he was having trouble coaxing his star defenseman to come back to the team.

“I said we hope to have him back in four weeks because that’s the next time we play in Tampa,” Holmgren said. “Even if he still refuses to move the puck people it’ll fit in with our gameplan.”


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