Today the Philadelphia Flyers introduced the new and possible final piece to the puzzle of the organizations 34-year Stanley Cup drought. That man is Chris Pronger.
Twice before in Pronger’s career he has been labeled as the ’savior’ or final piece to a team on the verge of a championship. He was supposed to be that guy when he signed in Edmonton, didn’t work out to plan.
“I think I’m a key piece, not the main piece of the puzzle. This is a team game and we win together. I would like to think im an important piece, but it will take all of us as a team to get it done,” said Pronger.
“Im here to help the young guys along, achieve their potential. Be a force back in the blue line, and protect the net. The style of the play that the Flyers have been known to play certainly fits my game,” Pronger said today at the Flyers practice facility in Voorhees NJ.
“I made it sort of clear (and the end of the season) I would like to get a hammer, a guy who makes life miserable for the other team. This is one of those guys,” said the general manager. “I think we’ve made some strides in terms of revamping our defense over the last few years. You put Chris in our mix, and it makes our defense a good group.”
The Flyers were hoping when they signed him at the NHL draft that they acquired the Chris Pronger who plays with grit, passion, and leadership. Pronger fully believes he brings all those qualities and more.
Pronger was attracted to coming hear as soon as he had heard the possibility of him being dealt away from Anaheim.
“Obviously, there style of play is what my game is all about. The history of this team, and the talent of this team with the core being very young. Im very much excited to play here. The excitement of the team from the city I hear is amazing, towards all their sports team.”
“The biggest word I hear from players and other around the league is passion. I’m looking forward to getting cheered and probably booed a few times, but, I will accept that and continue to push harder to win here,” Pronger said.
The talk of a new contract was brought up and Pronger was very adament in his desire to retire a Philadelphia Flyer.
“I would love to finish my career here; I probably could. I don’t know if I want to play as long as Chris Chelios, but this probably the best I’ve felt in a real long time. . . . I think all the work I’ve put in over the last 10 years is starting to pay off.”
GM Paul Holmgren stated that there has been preliminary talks with Chris and his agent and hope to get something done in the near future.
“We’ll continue to hammer away and get something done soon here,” Holmgren said.
Owner Ed Snider believes that the Flyers are as close to a championship as they have been in a long time. “I think we’re close, Chris is a big piece to that, now we have to come together and win it as a team. There’s a lot of things that go into winning a championship, and we just acquired someone who will help take that major step forward,” Snider said.
Pronger is the kind of player who puts accountibility on himself, he is his own worst critic. He expects the city and their fans to let him know when he is playing bad so he can fix the problems and come out better the next time.
His leadership will show through the locker-room ten-fold. He is a no-excuses player who expects 100 percent out of his teammates.
“It’s just showing them what I learned and the experiences I’ve gone through,” he said at today’s news conference. “I’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, and if any of those situations can help them out, it’s an added bonus.”
Philadelphia will love the character and passion that Chris Pronger will bring to this team, and the city. I can only believe in the Flyers organization that they brought a true winner to the town that is so desperately in need of Lord Stanley’s Cup.