Pronger: Byfuglien matchup, underdog talk 'blown out of proportion'

prongmic.jpgChris Pronger is not a shy player when it comes to mixing it up in the corners … or, apparently, when he is in front of a microphone or a reporter’s notebook. The big brute often provides candid (well, for hockey players, at least) comments to the media and this weekend was no exception.

Pronger is never one to mince words. Oh, no. He routinely keeps the media on its toes with quick jabs and commentary whenever he deems it appropriate. And Sunday, he was in rare form, laughing and mixing it up for the reporters and television cameras.

It began with the second question of the day when he was asked about the matchup against Chicago forward Dustin Byfuglien, who had his five-game goal-scoring streak snapped Saturday.

“There was a lot of talk,” Pronger said. “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.”

Pronger went on to quip about how little stock he puts into “favorites, underdogs” as he pointed out the New England Patriots’ 2002 Super Bowl upset of the St. Louis Rams, pointing out that a lot of people must have lost money. (Kind of makes you wonder if Pronger lost money there, right?)

While hockey fans are far from shy to voice their disapproval of the big bully defenseman, at least Pronger isn’t shy about speaking his mind.

We could use more players who are so free with their words. Now, if he could just get those elbows under control …

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?