On the eve of a Kings-Devils Stanley Cup finals, Ed Snider wondered what could’ve been.
The Flyers owner told Philly.com that, had defensemen Chris Pronger and Andrej Meszaros been healthy for the playoffs, it would’ve been his team playing in the Cup finals.
Winning it, too.
“I honestly think if Pronger and Meszaros had been healthy in the playoffs, we would have won the whole thing,” Snider said. “I don’t like to cry about injuries, buy you just can’t lose a Pronger and replace him. And then on top of that, you lose Meszaros and [Marc-Andre] Bourdon.”
The Flyers lost Pronger for the season on Nov. 19 (concussion) and were without Meszaros (back) for all but one of their playoff contests — the Game 5 loss to New Jersey that ended their season.
An upper-body injury limited Bourdon to just one playoff appearance.
As such, Philly’s defense was a patchwork job. The trade deadline acquisition of Nicklas Grossmann worked out well and, despite missing some time with a concussion, he played well enough to warrant a four-year, $14 million extension.
The Flyers’ other deadline pickup, Pavel Kubina, fared much worse and ended up a healthy scratch by postseason’s end.
This forced head coach Peter Laviolette to rely mostly on Braydon Coburn, Kimmo Timonen and Matt Carle while squeezing minutes out of Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja. All told, Philly dressed nine different defencemen during the playoffs, a fairly good indicator of how patchwork it was.
Of course, saying the Flyers had a patchwork defense is a far cry from saying “with Pronger and Meszaros, they win the Cup.”