25 January 2011
What do you see here? A good battle between Pronger and Kopecky? Personal excitement because the big guy is back on the ice? A guy in the background who is playing both sides in the game by wearing an ambiguously colored sweatshirt that could be either red or orange, depending upon the outcome of the game? (I bet his name is Pat too... yowzah!)
The answer to all these questions are: yes.
But there's something else you should see too. And, if it were not for chatting up my defenseman at a recent drop-in session, I would have missed it too.
Chris Pronger is wearing something that is now - and should be more - seen in the NHL by professional level d-men.
If you look closely at Pronger's skate, there are plastic guards covering both of his feet. Also notice that Kopecky, a forward, isn't wearing them. These guards are meant to protect the soft part of the skate (the laces) that, when struck, often results in bone breaks. These guards distribute the impact of the puck strike across the boot to reduce the chance of injury.
Here's an even closer look...
The arrows are pointing the straps that hold the guard in place. As someone who plays defense from time to time when I'm not between the pipes, I'm stunned that most defensemen do not wear them. I checked images from the past few games and Pronger is the only Flyers dman with them on.
The downside, according to my source, is that they make your feet feel heavier when they're on, so maybe that's the cause of the low adoption rate. But, in my mind, the little extra weight has to be psychological, and the peace of mind worth their weight in gold.
But that's just me.
Either way, it looks like Prong-daddy is taking proper care of those canoes he calls feet... which, no matter which way you cut it, should be music to your ears.
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