Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger was in rare form Sunday afternoon at his post-practice news conference.
The second question posed to Pronger was about Blackhawks forward Dustin Byfuglien, the 6-foot-4, 257-pounder whose matchup with the 6-4, 220-pound Pronger was all the buzz leading up to the series.
"There was a lot of talk," Pronger responded. "You guys had a lot to say about him. So I guess we needed to calm that down real quick. I have played in the West for 14 years. I played against him a lot. So it's not like I've been out East for my whole career and never played against the guy. That may have been blown out of proportion, I think."
Two questions later, a reporter asked about comments made by teammate Danny Briere that the Flyers proved to themselves that they could keep up with the favored Blackhawks.
"Favorite to who?" Pronger said. "To you guys? This crew in here? All that matters is what we think in that locker room. And that's it. Whether the world is picking them as favorites, we've all seen probably one of the most heavily favored Super Bowls, St. Louis against the New England Patriots. That didn't turn out very well, did it? A lot of people lost money on that one."
Then came the questions about the goalie situation. Minutes earlier, on the same podium, goalie Michael Leighton had said he didn't know if he would start Game 2, and coach Peter Laviolette had refused to comment.
"That's news to me," Pronger said. "Are you starting to stir the pot? It's news to me."
A reporter pointed out that Laviolette had just said it.
"Okay," Pronger said, grinning. "Maybe he's keeping you on your toes too."
Then CSNPhilly.com reporter Tim Panaccio, a frequent subject of Pronger's banter, tried one more time to get the defenseman to comment, asking what it would say if Laviolette kept Leighton on the bench.
"I don't think he's made up his mind," Pronger said. "So it would probably be premature for me to speculate or say anything on the matter, Tim."
"Say anything," Panaccio responded.
"I don't think I will," Pronger said. "Because I don't like the way you phrased your question."
" Why don't you phrase it for me?" Panaccio said with a smile.
"I don't guess," Pronger said.
Then came a question from a reporter who previously had asked him about Byfuglien.
She started to ask a different question, when Pronger interrupted: "I don't know what Buff did, but..."
"Stop that," the reporter said amid the laughter. "It's dead now."
"Well, thank you. Finally!" Pronger said before letting her finish her question.
"What does it feel like, especially at this time of year, to be playing 32-plus minutes a game," she asked.
"It's exhausting," he said, looking down and feigning exhaustion. "I don't know. I couldn't get up this morning. I don't even know how I'm sitting here. I almost fell asleep."
After more laughter, he answered the question legitimately.
Next, a reporter noted how disciplined the Flyers were in Game 1, and asked whether they had played physically enough.
"What do you want me to say?" Pronger said. "There's two parts to your question."
The reporter responded: "I think you guys played a really disciplined game. You stayed out of the box, which is a different experience for you guys. It almost felt like maybe it was a little bit too quiet. Do you feel you need to pick up the aggression a little bit?
"So you don't want to us play disciplined?" Pronger teased.
"I'm not trying to coach this team," the reporter said.
"Okay, well, I don't know what you are trying to ask me," Pronger said.
"Do you think since you didn't have any penalties, maybe you should play more physically?" the reporter said.
"Should we take more penalties?" Pronger said before turning back to Panaccio. "Is that your question, Tim?"
Another reporter then played along some more with the next question.
"I'll ask this question for Tim," he said.
"Does it have stats in it?" Pronger said. "That's what he's good at."
"It actually does," the reporter said. "(Scott) Hartnell said he and Danny (Briere) were never told to come off the ice when matched up against (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane. Danny has never been in the Selke conversation (as the league's top defensive forward), but he had four points, Tim?"
"One and three," Pronger said, referring to Briere's goals and assists, before commenting on the matchup.
Next, someone asked about the ice conditions.
"Well," Pronger said, "it's pretty hard for them to be optimal in June. It is what it is. It's getting hot out, humid out. While it is the Windy City, we can't open up the doors, as we talked about yesterday, and let all that cold wind in. ... As you've progress further in the playoffs, the ice usually gets a little softer. It's tough to keep it that cold. We could make it hard, but it would be about 4 degrees in the building. I'm sure the fans wouldn't appreciate that very much, wearing parkas in June."
Finally, someone mentioned how loose the Flyers were, Pronger in particular.
"Well, the world is not ending, and the sun came up today," Pronger said before giving a real answer.
With that, Pronger stood up to leave. As reporters bustled about in preparation for the next news conference, a cameraman nearly knocked over his tripod, barely saving it.
"I rattled him!" Pronger said as he walked by, laughing. "I rattled him!"