Flyers leaning heavy on Chris Pronger

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.

He’s
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:

“When
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.”

While
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.

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    Ducks add Konowalchuk, Morrison to Carlyle’s staff

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    Anaheim has added two assistants to Randy Carlyle’s coaching staff — longtime NHLer Steve Konowalchuk, and AHL Manitoba assistant Mark Morrison.

    Konowalchuk, 44, comes over after a successful stint as the bench boss in WHL Seattle. Last year, he led the Thunderbirds to a league title and a spot in the Memorial Cup. He has history with Carlyle from their days together in Washington — Konowalchuk as a player, Carlyle as an assistant coach.

    Konowalchuk also has NHL experience, having served two years as an assistant in Colorado.

    Morrison, 54, has spent the last six years with the Moose/IceCaps, Winnipeg’s AHL affiliate. Prior to that, he was the head coach of ECHL Victoria.

    Today’s moves after the Ducks parted ways with Paul MacLean. He’d been with the organization for two seasons, serving under both Carlyle and Bruce Boudreau.

    Report: Senators plan to keep Phaneuf, after asking him to waive NMC

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    It’s been an interesting few weeks to say the least for the Ottawa Senators and Dion Phaneuf.

    He was asked to waive his no-movement clause ahead of the expansion draft, which would’ve left him unprotected had he agreed to that request. There were also reports of trade interest in Phaneuf, who is 32 years old and with four years remaining on a pricey seven-year, $49 million contract.

    Phaneuf denied Ottawa’s request to waive, and the Senators ended up losing Marc Methot to Vegas, which then flipped him to Dallas in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and prospect goalie Dylan Ferguson.

    Now, it’s been reported, the Senators plan to keep Phaneuf after the market for him apparently to cool off.

    What has transpired over the past few weeks likely makes for some awkward conversations down the road.

    “They’re not easy conversations when you ask someone (to waive a no-move clause), but he understood,” Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told Sportsnet.

    “It was a man-to-man conversation. There was no bulls**t. When we talked to him I explained to him: ‘I said it’s not that you’re the fourth-best defenceman on this team, Dion.’ It’s ‘we want to try to top keep our top-four intact.’”

    Phaneuf played in 81 regular season games for Ottawa in 2016-17, scoring nine goals and 30 points. He scored one goal and five points in 19 playoff games.

    The Senators currently have six defensemen under contract for next season, with their star Erik Karlsson facing a four-month recovery from offseason foot surgery. With Methot gone, prospect blue liner Thomas Chabot should also have quite an opportunity to crack the Senators’ lineup next season.

    Preds’ Ellis says he underwent ‘minor procedure’ after Stanley Cup Final

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    Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis made an appearance on a Hamilton, Ont., television station Wednesday, sporting a large brace running almost the full length of his right leg.

    Ellis left Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final with an undisclosed injury and didn’t return in what was a blowout loss to the Penguins. He did, however, return to the lineup for Game 6, but Nashville’s playoff run came to an end on home ice with a stunning 2-0 loss.

    During his appearance on CHCH, Ellis said he had a “minor procedure” done on his right leg.

    “It looks worse than it probably is,” he continued. “Hopefully be back on the ice in no time.”

    Predators general manager David Poile had acknowledged in the days following the Stanley Cup Final loss to Pittsburgh that Ellis undergoing surgery was a possibility.

    From The Tennessean:

    Ellis played in each of Nashville’s 22 playoff games, but coach Peter Laviolette said following the team’s season-ending loss Sunday that Ellis’ ailment was “pretty serious.” Poile said that more should be known next week.

    The Predators made the playoffs as the second wild card team in the West, but swept Chicago in the first round and surged all the way to the final. Their top-four defensemen, including Ellis, played such a pivotal role in the team’s historic postseason. Ellis finished third on the Predators in playoff scoring, with 13 points in 22 games.

    Carolina re-signs ‘physical, smart’ McGinn — two years, $1.775 million

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    After a breakout campaign, Brock McGinn has cashed in with the Hurricanes.

    McGinn has signed a two-year, $1.775 million extension, the club announced on Wednesday. The deal carries a $887,500 average annual cap hit, and comes on the heels of a campaign in which he scored 16 points in 57 games, averaging 12 minutes per night.

    “Brock took a step forward last season and was a regular presence in our lineup,” GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He is a young player who plays a physical, but smart brand of hockey, and can contribute offensively.”

    McGinn, 23, is the youngest of the McGinn brothers. Tye spent last year with Tampa Bay’s AHL affiliate in Syracuse, while Jamie wrapped the first of a three-year deal in Arizona.