With the playoffs upon us, the Philadelphia Flyers in the playoffs
and after a game one upset of the Devils the spotlight is shining bright
on Chris Pronger once more. And with Pronger playing the resident
territorial bad guy in front of the Flyers net as he bats away those
pesky Devils forwards, obviously the comparisons will be made the great
Devils bad boy himself, Scott Stevens.
San Donnelion of the Philly
Daily News has a great, lengthy story up this morning on how Pronger
and Stevens compare, even though Stevens played in a ‘different’ era of
hockey. Although Pronger is certainly a call back to that former style
of hockey — the big, physical and punishing defenseman — he’s been
able to adjust and still be successful as the game has evolved.
taking on an even bigger role with the Flyers in the playoffs, playing
more and more minutes as he works to shut down the top lines the Devils
can offer. While there are certainly times that Pronger is caught flat
footed and the Flyers get burned, there’s no doubt his presence is felt
and makes a difference for the opposition. Says Danny Briere:
you play 30 minutes, it means you’re covering two different
lines,” Danny Briere
said after practice yesterday. “You play a team like Boston and
you have Zdeno Chara
in your face all night long. It gets old pretty fast. You have
six forwards on the other team saying, ‘I had Pronger in my face all
night long.’ It gets old. Maybe not in Game 1 or Game 2, but when you
come down to Game 5 or Game 6, that’s when you see it pay off.”
I will never completely agree with Pronger’s approach to the game,
there’s no doubt that he will have to be a difference maker for the
Flyers this postseason; and he should be. The Flyers are paying him an
incredible amount of money at a late stage in his career to do just
that; wreak havoc and cause all sorts of issues as protects his net.
With Brian Boucher tasked to carry the Flyers as far as he can, Pronger
is even more important.