We hate them. They hate us. Yet oddly enough one of the better exchanges of open threads during the playoffs came from the first round against the Flyers with the guys and gals over at Broad Street Hockey. They'd agree too I'm sure, but then again they also only have one round of playoff hockey to consider.
In effort to better edumakate ourselves and the respective fan bases, Ben from Broad Street Hockey and I exchanged a few questions leading into the new season. The first game against Philly is exactly one week away on October 8, so now seemed like a pretty good time to check in and see what's going on around that team and hear/read what the fans are thinking. When you're done reading, shoot on over to BSH and see what Q's Ben sent my way.
1. Lets get right to it. Ray Emery and Chris Pronger - the answer?
They're certainly an answer. Emery is a goalie with a great playoff track record, which is what the Flyers needed. Pronger is obviously a beast--a shutdown d-man, which is something every team can use more of. His vocal veteran leadership will be a huge help to this team, as will his offensive presence. For how scoring the offense was, the Flyers D had been seriously offensively-challenged. The double-digit goals Pronger should bring to the table will certainly be appreciated.
Philly absolutely has two guys who can replace Lupul and Knuble in Daniel Briere and Claude Giroux, two guys who both saw limited ice last year. I'm pretty sure Briere and Giroux will combine for more than Knuble and Lupul's 52. Mika Pyorala has also been incredible in the preseason, so he might well break 20 as well. This is a case of the rich staying rich.
I'd say yes, but not by a whole lot. Losing Mike Knuble sucked, because he was a gritty veteran guy who got a lot of huge garbage goals. Losing him to Washington sucks even more, because he's exactly what they needed offensively down there. But Pronger, a healthy Briere, and a clear starter in Emery make this a better team this year than last. And they were pretty damn good last year.
Every team uses some other team as a measuring stick. Some use the Stanley Cup Champ, some use their biggest rival, and some use the team who knocked them out of the playoffs the year before. The Penguins are all three of those for the Flyers, so it's no wonder that's who the Flyers are always compared to. Makes a lot more sense than saying "those Islanders better watch out for Pronger."
Pronger will make the Flyers better against everybody, which includes the Penguins, for sure. The Flyers were a blown three-goal lead from forcing a Game 7 against Pittsburgh last year, so I don't necessarily think they needed a big move to be able to beat them this year. Pronger should be effective in shutting down Crosby and Malkin, sure, but also Ovechkin, Gaborik, Tavares, Kovalchuk, and whoever else gets in his way. 76 of the Flyers games this year will be against teams that aren't Pittsburgh, so I don't think that move (or any move) was made with one opponent in mind.