Morning Puck: Bad Day

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 9.23.22 AMLavs did his best to avoid lamenting Pronger's concussion

Well, here we are– sans captain.

When the Flyers traded Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, some of the concern surrounding the moves was over likely naming Chris Pronger – an aging, injury prone defenseman – captain. What if he got hurt? What if he only had a few years left in the tank? Those were both reasonable questions that came with disturbing answers. Now, one of those frightening consequences is coming to fruition, but for a reason that is as random as it is unfortunate.

Obviously, a concussion is not an injury based on age– so it’s not fair, nor accurate, to put blame on anyone. But, the reality is – based on many factors – that the Flyers had a lot of eggs in the Pronger basket. And as well as the team is playing right now, they are going to have to fill his void if they want to compete for the Stanley Cup. They're not built, as is, to win without him for a prolonged period.

Being Flyers captain has not been a desirous place to be. Four of the last six to hold the position have suffered a range of unfortunate fates: Keith Primeau (career ended due to concussions), Peter Forsberg (odd foot injury killed last few years of his career), Mike Richards (shot by Paul Holmgren), Pronger (???). And how ironic (unfortunate) is it that the week Eric Lindros returned to Philadelphia, the team's current captain's season was lost due to the same injury that plagued 88?

Screen Shot 2011-12-16 at 9.32.37 AM

Will Pronger ever play again? None of us know. But it’s entirely possible that his career is over. The concussion is just the icing on the cake for a player who has suffered a myriad other injuries over the last few seasons. And the fact that yet another high-profile player may have a career shortened (or hampered) by a concussion will only further the bubbling debate surrounding head injuries in hockey (the HBO cameras don't hurt, either).

What about the Flyers, though? Well, Pronger will need to be replaced. The defense is not good enough as is, and the Flyers aren’t going to be able to outscore everybody, especially once the playoffs come around. At some point, they are going to have to win games by stopping the other team, and they’re not built to do that sans Pronger.

Oh yeah… and there's that whole Giroux thing, too.

The Flyers won – impressively, I might add – last night, 4-3. Some statisticals to put their early success in its proper context:

The Flyers move to 12-3-1 on the road this season, giving them 25 points in road games.  In terms of points, it ties them with the 1979-80 team for the best road record after 16 games in franchise history (79-80 team was 10-1-5 for 25 points after 16 road games).  It’s the most road wins in 16 road games in franchise history.

The Flyers won their seventh consecutive game.  It’s the longest winning streak the Flyers have strung together since an eight-game streak from Jan. 6-19, 2002.  


Your full highlights are after the jump.



23 Responses

  1. Pronger makes a lot of money. The Flyers are going to now be able to fill up more cap space with possibly 2 more really good defense men. If they can find a match.

  2. some of the concern surrounding the moves was over likely naming Chris Pronger – an aging, injury prone defenseman – captain.
    There was never an issue with naming him Captain. Once again you know less about hockey than Howard Eskin. I forgot you played 3 years of JV hockey which makes you an expert.
    I am still waiting for you to admit that Holmgren made the right moves this past offseason.

  3. Chris…
    There was plenty of issue over naming him Captain. People wanted Timonen, Briere, Giroux or JVR (I was not one of those people for JVR, but Timonen definitely).
    When Homer made the moves, I (and others) said one of the problems we saw with it was management taking one side vs the other in a battle between factions of players (Richards/Carter vs Pronger) and that management may have taken the wrong side, because of Pronger’s age, injury history, and history of basically just being a dick with teams.
    That being said, the deals (Carter moreso than Richards) have worked out great. But they are still left with the void of not having Pronger that many of us saw coming.
    With him on LTIR, Homer needs to pick up a big time defenseman. Shea Weber would be first choice, obviously. Ryan Suter would work as well. I think I’d take Dion Phaneuf. Just need a high end defenseman to fill Pronger’s spot.

  4. YUP, get it right. As Laid out by the NHL.
    Long-Term Injuries:
    A player expected to miss at least 10 games and 24 days due to injury can be listed as a long-term injury (LTI).
    An LTI can be covered by replacement players, as long as the replacement salaries do not exceed the salary of the injured player.
    If the replacement salaries would push a team over the salary cap, the team is allowed cap relief, but only for the portion of the salary that exceeds the cap.
    When the injured player returns, the team must immediately comply with the normal terms of the salary cap.
    So that means he Flyers just freed up cap space by Pronger being out for the season.

  5. chris- not saying it was the wrong move, but switching captains from a 26-year-old with a 10 yr contract to an always injured defenseman was a risk, in many ways. pronger was a short-term solution in that position.

  6. JT,
    There was no issue with management naming Pronger Captain. You say plenty of people wanted all these other players to be captain. Who are these other people you speak of?
    Plenty of people want Andy Reid gone but that isn’t going to happen.

  7. Also my point was that people (this blog) issues with the moves in the offseason weren’t with management taking one side over the other. It was how we were going to replace all those “goals” richards and carters scored.

  8. @JT…Uh who ever wanted Giroux or JVR as captain must be a complete idiot. Did we not just give the C to a young player (Richards) and what happend? He failed horribly and was not ready for the role. Why would we give it to Giroux or JVR?? Timmonen doesn’t want the pressure. He goes out and does his job. Briere is a decent leader but he lets his game do the talking (which has been lacking this season). Briere is more on the quiet side. Pronger was the only real choice and he should have been captain when they acquired him. Richards was a mistake.
    It seems that everyone keeps forgetting about a huge piece of the puzzle that we added. Bryz…he is 6-0 and has started showing his true skill the past month or so. Rough start but he has been huge so far. If we can get him going and get him hot into the playoffs he could steal a few games for us.
    Also I think Coburn has become the man on this team. He reminds me of a younger Pronger and I think he is more vaulable then pronger skill wise, not leadership wise yet. Timmo is playing like his young self and Carle has been pretty solid as well. The issue is the #5 and #6 D guys but hey…we dont know for sure that they wont end up playing well…
    I still have faith but i think Weber or Suter may be coming to town like the other poster said…

  9. Chris-
    Flyers fans, that I talked to. The whole issue was exactly “Pronger is 37 and has been injury prone. Do we want a Captain who is likely to miss 25-30 games this year?”… and look what has happened. So apparently those people had a legitimate point, even if you think Pronger was a hands down selection.
    Plenty of people want Andy Reid gone… true. Doesn’t mean it’s going to happen… also true. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an issue.
    Saying because it didn’t work out with Richards means it won’t work out with any young player is highly idiotic. Sidney Crosby. Jonathan Toews. Alex Ovechkin. All YOUNG captains who have done pretty well in the role. No way I would have given it to JVR (like I said in my first post, just said I heard it put out there). I would have thought of giving it to Giroux, and been ok if they did, but that wasn’t my choice. I would have gone Timonen. And where do you get the idea he doesn’t want the pressure? He’s been a captain before! And handled it well. I’m sure he wouldn’t be pissed if it happened again.
    Not every captain has to be extremely vocal. And to say that the Flyers one had one legitimate choice for captain… well, for that, YOU are the one who is idiotic.
    This D is NOT Cup worthy as is. You say Coburn is becoming the man, but he still does things every now and then that leave you scratching your head. He’s solid, but no way does he replace Pronger. They do need a Suter, Weber, or Phaneuf. At least we agree on that.

  10. Richards has been out with a concussion all month so if he was captain they wouldn’t have him either. Both players are now one head shot away from Lindros or Primeau.

  11. there’s no way toronto gives up the phaneuf train. weber and suter are much more realistic being that neither of them really want to sign a long term deal in nashville when this season is over. a trade for bouwmeester (pretty much same cap hit as pronger) may take less pieces and/or draft picks, so expect the flyers to explore that as well. lots of ways flyers could go on this one, and they have the depth to make ANY trade happen

  12. I swear I have never seen so many people bitch when a team is winning. Pronger out definitely hurts the team, but they have been able to bear down and win games still. To say the team is ready to make a push at a stanley cup is ridiculous. Boston’s offense was anemic at best last season and people said they couldn’t win it. But they had young players step up and score goals and they had a hot goalie. Who can sit and say that some of the younger defenseman won’t step it up more and play more solid come playoffs and Bryz could get hot? That’s the thing with sports, injuries happen. The team has to find out ways to win. Eventually those young players have to come up to the big league and learn to play and I think for having so many young players they are doing a damn fine job. If Homer wants to bring Weber or Sutter I am all for adding another great defensive player, but quit bitching about the young defensive players. Someone on the D needs to up the nasty factor and play with that fire, so far in these past games it seems Coburn has been doing that. Sure he makes some mistakes like one of the previous posters mentioned. But everyone does and that is how you learn to play the game. Lavy has done a good job with all these injuries. Also quit saying the Richards trade didn’t pan out, Simmonds is playing well and scoring again. Even when he wasn’t scoring he was bring intensity to the ice all game, every game. Schenn is still young and has a lot of time. Give the kid a break. Mike Richards by the way is on the IR, so what has he done for the kings? I’m not saying this D is cup worthy, but I’m not saying it isn’t. We don’t know how young talent will develop. All that said, I think homer will make a move for a Weber or Sutter type. I am enjoying this season, Get well Prongs we all want to see you back on the ice in the orange and black.

  13. I don’t think that Carle, Timonen, Meszaros and Coburn are chopped liver. The Flyers’ defense is strong without Pronger, but they do need a physical presence (a Matt Walker who can skate a little) for the playoffs. For instance, the Flyers killed 8 penalties last night, but they let the Canadiens hang around the crease.

  14. I completely agree. But I think that Coburn has started to really step up in that sense. He hasn’t cleared the crease like Pronger, but who does. Coburn is starting to play with that nastiness, but he has to walk that fine line between nasty and always getting called for penalties. Meszaros has started to play very well also, and Carle is quietly having a good solid season. But if Homer snags Suter or Weber they obviously would be much better off. Also, the core of the D goes from aging to young but extremely talented.

  15. To digress for a bit, that 79-80 team was SICK! The only thing they didn’t do was win the Cup, unfortunately. In addition to the road record, they had the 35-game unbeaten streak….Damn Islanders and Bossy!

  16. Just as an FYI, the Flyers may actually be built to win without Pronger. Not to take away what he brings to the ice as one of the top four defensemen in the league.
    The Flyers actually have a better record (percentage-wise) without him in the lineup over the last two seasons. And that percentage difference continues to increase. So long as Pronger stays around the team as a voice, which he no doubt will, this is still a team that can compete with the best.

  17. The only thing that is ironic about this post is that Kyle Scott thinks that he’s a literary genius, but does not know how to use the word “ironic” properly. “Ironic” essentially means what you wouldn’t think would happen ACTUALLY took place. Kyle Scott actually means to use “fitting”. The event he describes is “fitting” because it demonstrates parallelism. The old captain (who was traded for the haul of the ages) suffered the same fate as the new captain (who was traded for the haul of the ages).
    Then again, what would I expect. He went to Malvern (meathead school) and O went to La Salle (cultured institution). Our respective read on. His use of the English language is equally as fitting as the situation he earlier described.

  18. I love how people take the time out to come on Kyles site and then comment on how he doesn’t know his shit. Whether you agree with him or not, you’re still the loser because you obviously come on here to read what he blogs. Makes a lot of sense buddy!

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