For the past two games, Philadelphia Flyers defenceman Chris Pronger has been weirdly busy post-game, scooping up the game puck afterwards - an unusual thing for any player, especially for a player from the losing team and especially from a player that is demonstrably unsentimental.
But that is what Pronger does - keeps everybody off balance. Following Monday's 2-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, Pronger grabbed the game puck before Ben Eager could get it. Eager, who doesn't score often, had contributed the winning goal to the Blackhawks' cause in a Stanley Cup final; it looked as if he was after the puck as a keepsake.
Pronger, being the sort of antagonist that he is, decided he didn't want that to happen and got there first. The two were busily jawing at each other afterwards; Pronger eventually received a misconduct for his actions.
Eager said afterwards he didn't care about losing the puck: "I just told him he could keep it."
Pronger was even more dismissive, telling Comcast Sports' Tim Panaccio that he put the puck "in the garbage where it belongs" and asked - in the manner that only Pronger can, sarcasm dripping with every word - why shouldn't he start collecting pucks at this late stage of his career?
Funny stuff, and it was even funnier Wednesday, when the "puck caper" was an amusing secondary talking point. It didn't have much to do with the hockey, but it kept everybody giggling, even coach Peter Laviolette, who said: "I think it's kind of comical. If Chris Pronger wants the puck, then he can have it as far as I'm concerned."
Even if it gives the Blackhawks additional incentive?
"What added incentive do they have now? They're mad? They're angry? It's the playoffs. We're going to show up and compete like hell tomorrow night, I promise you that. I don't know what else they're going to do because we stole their puck. It's funny - like you guys laughing now. If Prongs wants the puck, take it."