Best St. Louis Blue

Chris Pronger

For Blues fanatics, the only bad, bad thing about Chris Pronger is that in praising him, they have to credit, however indirectly, former Blues despot Mike Keenan. For many Blues fanatics, Mike Keenan is the Hannibal Lecter of St. Louis hockey -- in their view, he not only killed the team, he virtually ate it. But somewhere Keenan is chuckling. Or scowling, which, for Keenan, might be the same thing. Keenan left town two steps ahead of the tar and feathers, but one thing he left behind was the Brendan Shanahan-for-Chris Pronger trade. Although reviled at the time, five years later it makes perfect sense -- well, not perfect, but at this point what team wouldn't pick the 25-year-old Pronger over the thirtysomething Shanahan? Age is unforgiving, particularly in sports. If last year is any preview, Pronger is a player on the verge of a great career. For last season's effort, Pronger was picked for the Norris Trophy as the league's best defenseman and the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player. Pronger is the first player to win both since the legendary Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins in 1972. As the season starts next month, Pronger appears to have a hell of team around him, led by the NHL's coach of the year last year, Joel Quenneville. Now if he can only get past the second round of the playoffs. That would make Bluesheads forget about Keenan -- almost.
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