Sports

Chris Pronger good fit for NHL safety group, Francois Beauchemin says

Chris Pronger
Former Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger ended his career with the Philadelphia Flyers.
(Chuck Myers / MCT)

As a player, former Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger once stepped on the leg of current Duck and then-Vancouver Canuck Ryan Kesler, drawing a lengthy suspension.

Thursday came news that Pronger, still being paid by the Philadelphia Flyers after being forced to stop playing because of concussion effects, will work for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

“I think it’s good … obviously he was a great player, great person,” former Pronger teammate and Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin said.

“Brendan Shanahan did the same job when he had the job. He’s played before as a ‘dirty’ player and did those things -- knows how we think and how we play. So these guys are able to make the right decision whenever they have to.

“You can’t cheat. They know what we’re doing. They’ve been through that, [know] the guys around, how we play and what we do out there.”

The thought is that Pronger might also take head shots extremely seriously given his own experience.

When reminded his run-in with Pronger, Kesler told a reporter of Pronger, “He'39’s older now.”

Andersen in net: Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau has said goalies Frederik Andersen and John Gibson will each play two games on this four-game road trip. Following Gibson’s bitter homecoming in Thursday’s 6-4 loss, Andersen will take over against the Red Wings.

“I felt good all summer, got stronger in the gym, feel quicker and I’ve felt good in preseason,” Andersen said of his two wins and 1.65 goals-against average. “We have a lot of stuff from [Thursday] night to clean up, but I believe our compete level will be better, and our power play moved the puck very well.”

Beauchemin repeated a phrase that has been used so often you wonder if the Ducks were handed a team memo before reporters entered the locker room after Thursday night’s game.

“We kind of left him [hung] out to dry,” Beauchemin said.

“It’s all about the one-on-one battles. We lost a lot of those and the D-zone coverage wasn’t good. It would have been a lot worse if Gibby wasn’t there. I think he made some really good saves too. They had some tap-in goals that he couldn’t do anything on.

“It’s up to us to regroup and play harder. That’s the type of practice we had today. We focused on the one-on one and the D-zone coverage.”

Seamless exchange?: That’s what Boudreau said he was expecting from the Ducks despite the retirements of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu and the addition of new key players Ryan Kesler, Nate Thompson, Clayton Stoner and Gibson.

“If you think you can just turn it on when you want, it doesn’t happen,” Boudreau said. “You’ve got to put a lot of emphasis on coming out of the gate.”

He said consistency was lacking Thursday, and lines were tweaked at Friday’s practice, notably rookie William Karlsson playing with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg.

“Really good head on his shoulders. He brings that, that’ll be good,” Boudreau said.

Twitter: @latimespugmire