In a move that shocked absolutely nobody, the Flyers officially announced that Chris Pronger will be the new captain of the Philadelphia Flyers. Also in the running, if on paper only, were former NHL captains Daniel Briere and Kimmo Timonen. While the later two were award the “A” to wear on their sweater, Pronger was the easiest and most obvious choice to wear the C. No stranger to a leadership role, Pronger brings an unmistakable confidence and the wisdom of over a decade and a half in the NHL.
In effect, giving Pronger the “C” was simply a formality. Always outspoken and a fierce competitor, Pronger really took the lion’s share of leadership on during the 09-10 cup run. With the Flyers in a 0-2 hole, the focus wasn’t on whether or not the Flyers would actually win their first finals game since 1987, but rather what Pronger did with those now infamous game pucks.
The answer to that is still a mystery, but his actions effectively took the focus off the Flyers growing Stanley Cup Finals losing streak. While ultimately losing in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks, the damage control was there. The Flyers were no longer the lovable losers, well they were, as Pronger became public enemy #1 for running off with the puck. Aside from his ability to deflect scrutiny from his teammates, his ability to handle the media is legendary. A bit of a wild card off the ice, as it is never known if you’re going to get. Will you get the joking Chris Pronger seen here (video from Sensfanleeee) or the Pronger ready to chew out anyone at the drop of a hat. He’s never one to shy away from saying what he feels need to be said, good or bad, to the media, teammates or anyone else who can be within earshot. The Flyers locker room will no longer be hurting for a soundbite.
The much fabled split in the Flyers locker room is no more. Until the younger guys like Claude Giroux and James vanRiemsdyk are ready to take over the leadership role, they are learning from some of the best. Pronger now captain’s his third NHL team (the Blues and a brief stint with Anaheim), while Briere and Timonen also have had their share of extra letters on their sweaters. These two might not be as vocal or dynamic behind the microphone, they will undoubtedly lead by example. In the meantime though, it can be safe to assume that the Flyers are in good, surgically repaired hands.
image source: Bill Smith / Getty Images via sportsillustrated.cnn.com