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This year, the Flyers have no question as to who their leaders are. But the same couldn't have been said last season.
A locker room divided is a locker room that is doomed to fail.
Teams have to be cohesive units that can trust each other in times of need.
They can't have Captains who are disinterested or unconcerned when an opposing team's goon takes head shots at defenseless non-fighters.
Yes, that happened last season when Matt Carle took a shot from Sean Avery, and Mike Richards went on to remark how Carle wouldn't mind taking a few punches to win a game.
That kind of attitude isn't in Flyer dogma and shouldn't be in any team's.
In the Flyers' early days, a player went down with a severely fractured jaw during a fight.
Ed Snider's response to that at that time was, coincidentally the same as his response to last year's goalie dilemma, "It will never happen again." And so were born the Broad Street Bullies—a team that stuck up for each other regardless the cost.
Players like Pronger, Max Talbot, Jagr, Briere, Timmonen and Giroux know what that's about. While they are all not fighters, each has shown they can give the team a lift when things look grim.
Those types of players understand what is expected of them.
With Pronger hurt during last season's playoffs, Danny Briere stepped up big against Buffalo. He played a battle of wits game through the media with Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller, which seemed to affect Miller's game at moments in the series.
Timmonen is a player that can lead by example, logging heavy minutes and picking up the slack for a defensive corps that at times can struggle.
Talbot, although new to the Flyers, has shown his clutch ability and leadership with Pittsburgh. Flyer fans should remember well how Talbot goaded Dan Carcillo into a useless fight in a game in which the Flyers had a 3-0 lead. Talbot lost the fight, but his team became visually inspired, rallying to come from behind and eliminate the Flyers that day.
Jagr is a living legend, but most recently was seen taking up the slack when Pronger suffered a gruesome injury against Toronto. Jagr went on to register his first and second goals of the year, lifting the Flyers to victory that day. The injury to Pronger could have easily deflated the team giving them an easy excuse to lose. Instead, Jagr said no to that.
Giroux just needs to be Giroux. By going out there and menacing the opposing team, he makes room for guys like Voracek, van Riemsdyk and Simmonds to work against less than stellar defenses.
The formula laid out in this presentation is one the Philadelphia Flyers should stick by for success. They have the pieces they just need to put it together.
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