Pronger wants redemption

By CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

VANCOUVER — Chris Pronger said he quickly put out of his mind the “debacle” that was Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

Canada finished seventh in defence of their historic gold medal won in Salt Lake in 2002, Canada’s first of that colour in 50 years.

Now?

The big Philadelphia Flyers defenceman, playing in his fourth Olympic Games, wants redemption.

“To be honest, I cut the cord with that team the moment we left. We can second guess and play armchair quarterback for four years. I haven’t thought about it a whole lot. You can’t focus on what has happened or transpired in the past. You’ve got to worry about the future and the present, now here in Vancouver,” said Pronger, shortly after arriving at Vancouver International Airport.

“You want to play your best, you know? I think to a man we can come out and tell you we didn’t play our best or play to the level we are capable of, whatever the reasons were. Ninety-eight was a little disappointing losing in the shootout to get to the gold-medal game, ultimately winning in ’02 and then, I guess we can call it a debacle or disappointment, whatever, in ’06 in Itlay. We’re hoping to redeem ourselves and come out with the fire, the passion, and intensity that we’re known for.”

Pronger said there was another thing Team Canada can add to the mix: Joy.

There just wasn’t any in Canada’s game in Italy.

“At the end of the day, we have to go out and play the game and have some fun. That was one of the biggest things missing in ‘06, enjoying the game, having fun, being a part of the Olympic experience and having a lot of fun playing a game we love to play,” he said.

Team Canada will have one practice — Monday afternoon — before opening their schedule Tuesday against Norway.

Pronger said coach Mike Babcock did a good job laying the groundwork at the orientation camp in August which should help Team Canada come together quickly.

“There’s no second guessing or questioning what we’re doing. It’s pretty straightforward how Coach Babcock wants us to play. The onus is really on us to go out and play that way...whatever role you’re asked to play, whether it’s to kill penalties or be a checking centre, shutdown ‘D,’ whatever is asked.”

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca

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