Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Pronger Pro and Con in Blues' 3-2 Loss to Stars

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Pronger Pro and Con in Blues' 3-2 Loss to Stars

Article excerpt

Remember Chris Pronger? The kid defenseman who came to the Blues from Hartford for a guy named Brendan Shanahan?

For someone 6 feet 5, Pronger had been conspicuously inconspicuous in this exhibition season.

He had amassed exactly one assist in five games.

On Saturday night at Kiel Center, a crowd of 16,012 got to see both arguments - for and against - the promising Pronger.

He scored his first goal at his new address in a 3-2 exhibition loss to the Dallas Stars.

"It was a long time coming," Pronger said.

But Pronger also gave Dallas its second goal by mishandling the puck deep in his own zone while killing a penalty.

The Blues (1-5) play tonight at Chicago before ending exhibition play here Tuesday against Buffalo.

Blues single-game tickets go on sale at noon Sunday at Kiel Center for the regular season, which begins Saturday in Washington.

Assistant coach Bob Berry worked the bench again so coach Mike Keenan could watch from the press box.

Keenan again skipped the postgame news conference, leaving Berry to evaluate Pronger, who turns 21 on Oct. 10.

"Throughout the training camp and the exhibitions, we've let him go a little bit," Berry said. "In my opinion, he's progressed a lot. He's still going through a learning stage.

"I've been pleased with the way he's performed. It's pretty hard to evaluate point production at this point. With the enforcement of the obstruction rules, there have been so many penalties.

"We haven't had time to work on the power play. So points is a dead issue at this stage."

Whistlemania continued as the National Hockey League cracks down on clutching and grabbing.

Referee Dave Jackson called nine obstruction penalties in all, plus goalie interference against Brett Hull and holding the stick against Ian Laperierre of the Blues.

Even so, the combination of rough play and bad ice - "It's dangerous," Blues winger Brian Noonan said - led to several injuries. …

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