Olympic medallist Ruggiero takes offense to Chicago Tribune drawing of Pronger

The Chicago Tribune was trying to get under the skin of Flyers’ defenseman Chris Pronger, but instead ticked off three-time Olympic medallist Angela Ruggiero with its “Chrissy Pronger” photo, which ran in the Tuesday edition of the paper. (The photo shows Pronger wearing a skirt beside a headline that reads, “Chrissy Pronger. Looks like Tarzan, skates like Jane.”)

From SI.com:

Chris Pronger Story“I don’t read what you guys write, good or bad,” Pronger said Tuesday. “I really couldn’t care, to be honest with you. I’m worried about playing the game.”

Others weren’t so dismissive of the poster.

“I’d like to see that editor out on skates. I’ll take them one-on-one on the ice any day,” three-time Olympic medalist Angela Ruggiero told The Associated Press. “They obviously have never seen women’s hockey and are living in the dark ages.”

“For her and others who took offense, I apologize. No qualifiers, I’m sorry,” Chicago Tribune sports editor Mike Kellams said in an e-mail. “We were just having a little fun with a guy who has come to personify all that has gotten under the collective skin of Blackhawks fans. Pronger is talented that way. And we were trying to connect to that emotion in a fun way.

“I grew up in Indiana and came to hockey as an adult. Ruggiero vs. me on the rink would be no contest. I know that from what she and her team did at the Vancouver Olympics.”

“Some people are still ignorant,” Ruggiero said. “Our sport doesn’t get a lot of exposure, so you have to see us play in the world championships or the Olympics to see what the highest caliber of women’s hockey is.

“Obviously, it’s offensive. It’s disappointing more than anything. I grew up playing with boys, trained with NHL players. I would go head-to-head with Pronger any day I could.”

Not to piss Ruggiero off even more than she already is, but I think she’s being a little defensive here. She needs to consider the context of the joke. The Tribune wasn’t taking a shot at women’s hockey or suggesting that it’s not on par with the NHL; it’s taking a shot at Pronger by suggesting he plays like a woman figuring skater. (Hence the women’s figure skater skirt that he’s wearing in the photo.)

That said, I’m not Ruggiero and I don’t want to qualify what her or anyone else takes offense of. The photo obviously offended her and I thought it was right for the editor to apologize and explain the paper’s intentions. He also did well to put Ruggiero up, while putting himself down in the comment about how a match between those two would be “no contest.”

Again though, people have to keep in mind the context of things like this. For there to be even a little outrage over this photo (which comes from a Chicago paper, directed at a boisterous Philadelphia player in the middle of the Stanley Cup finals mind you) is kind of absurd in my opinion. We’re way too sensitive as a society.

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Byfuglien leads Hawks to within one game of clinching Cup

Dustin Byfuglien’s two goals and two assists in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup helped the Blackhawks beat the Flyers 7-4 on Sunday. Chicago is now only one win away from winning its first title in nearly 50 years.

Byfuglien had been quiet in the series before Sunday, registering only one assist through the first four games. Chris Pronger had largely neutralized him before then, but by playing most of the night on a line with Kris Versteeg (who had a goal and two assists himself) and Dave Bolland (one goal, one assist), the trio lifted the Hawks to a crucial victory.

Now comes the hard part for Chicago: beating the Flyers in Philadelphia, which they haven’t done in three tries this season (including Games 3 and 4 of the Cup). Flyers’ goalie Michael Leighton has been downright brutal on the road in this series, but his 31-save effort in Game 4 on Friday night was arguably his best performance of the playoffs. Assuming he’s in net for Wednesday night and not Brian Boucher (who replaced Leighton after he allowed three goals on Sunday), he could make the difference in whether or not this series goes to a Game 7.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

NHL Trade Deadline: Deal or no deal?

With hours remaining before the NHL’s trading deadline at 3 PM (ET) today, hockey fans want to know…

Who’s buying?

Who’s selling?

Who’s going to be traded?

Rumors are running rampant, and it’s very hard to distinguish fact from fiction. 25 of 30 teams in the league have a realistic shot of making the playoffs, and nine of them are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders. You can expect a number of trades today, as a combined 50 deals were executed at the trade deadline in the past two years.

Here are six likely candidates:

Chris Pronger – D, Anaheim Ducks
His immediate impact as an offensive defenseman could be very beneficial to any team that would acquire him. The Ducks are looking to make a major roster overhaul this off-season, and cannot afford to keep Pronger’s large contract ($6.25 million) on the cap next season. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) after the 2009-10 season.

Read the rest after the jump...

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