When Did Luca Sbisa Become Mark Howe?

Mark DiCiccoContributor IJuly 2, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11:  Luca Sbisa #47 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Carolina Hurricanes on December 11, 2008 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

I was born and raised in and around Philadelphia. I was taught at an early age to live and breathe Philly sports. I tend to try and see every angle of things. I used to fly off the handle and let my emotions dictate my reactions.

As I've gotten older, I learned to try and let things breathe before I devise an opinion. I've also been lucky enough to travel, and see a lot of different sports towns and cultures. It always made me appreciate what I had at home in Philadelphia.

I made the mistake of listening to sports talk radio in Philadelphia after the Flyers made the trade to bring Chris Pronger to the orange and black. My first reaction was one of elation and joy. After being bombarded with rumors of Jaybo since last year's trading deadline, this was a hell of a back-up plan by Holmgren.

Even a casual fan had to admit the Flyers were lacking a clear the crease type of dman, and Pronger brings that and a whole lot more. I was sure the fans of Philly would take to the airwaves to express this happiness.

I never realized how wrong I was.

As the callers kept piling on the disgust, I couldn't believe the opinion that we gave up too much. If you knew nothing about hockey, you would have made the assumption that Luca Sbisa was the greatest hockey player to ever live.

I even heard one caller say we just gave up Paul Coffey.

Folks, this is why you shouldn't drink whiskey and call in to a radio station.

I loved Sbisa's energy while he was here, and the kid grew leaps and bounds as the year went on, but ask yourself, was he ever going to bring what Pronger will?

I've heard the argument that they are not the same player, and it's worth at least looking at. Even if Sbisa became a reliable offensive defenseman who didn't kill you in your own end, we have a few of those already. Most of our D-men fit that mold. That's not to mention you would be waiting at least a few years for Sbisa to develop. I find it hard to believe any Flyers fan is willing to "wait" for anything.

The outrage continued, call after call, treating the first round draft picks like bars of gold. The NHL draft is a crap shoot. If the Flyers even play respectable, the pick we gave up (not the first rounder from this year) would be somewhere in the 15 to 20 range.

Not a sure thing by any stretch.

When did people start looking at the NHL draft like the NBA? It's a lot more like baseball. You're never sure what your going to get past the first few picks. As the saying goes, you have to give something to get something, and NO one can argue we got a defenseman we haven't seen in Philly in a long time.

I'm almost shocked I haven't seen a video montage of the snowball throwing incident followed by footage of one of Pronger's suspension worthy hits with the words perfect together on the bottom of the screen. Thank you ESPN for actually avoiding the obvious, tired Philadelphia joke.

Other articles have covered all the things Chris Pronger brings to a hockey club, so I wont rehash them all. The thing I'm most looking forward to from Pronger will be his accountability. If Pronger is playing for the fly guys last year, that collapse against the Pens does not happen.

I honestly believe that.

I could see him almost smacking each guy one by one to shake off that deer in the headlights look they had after Sidney Crosby tied the game. I can say with all certainty that the Flyers would have played different. Maybe they win, maybe they don't, but they would have followed Pronger's example.

If the Flyers follow his lead this year, and play with the same consistency Pronger shows game in and game out, that alone with make the trade worth the price we paid.