Chris Pronger Reacts to Flyers Blockbusters, Likes Fishing

Chris Pronger Reacts to Flyers Blockbusters, Likes Fishing

We polled you earlier on whether you thought the Flyers were closer to winning a Stanley Cup after Jeff Carter and Mike Richards were traded away and Ilya Bryzgalov was locked up long-term. During his conference call this afternoon, Chris Pronger was asked the same question.

Is the team closer to winning a Cup now?
 
“I don’t know.  I haven’t really thought about that too much.  I just heard about the trades last night so I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought to it, I’m up in the bush with my kids, fishing.  I haven’t put the Xs and Os together – I’m sure you guys have looked at it seven ways from Sunday and tried to figure out who wins or loses.  At the end of the day, as I said before, having been traded a number of times, it’s always difficult.  They both played their hearts out in Philly, but sometimes as I said, you’ve got to make tough decisions and you’ve got to make moves, and sometimes it may hurt and may feel like you’re making your team worse to make it better," Pronger said. [full transcript below]

What was your reaction to yesterday’s events? 

“I think when you make a move like that to get a goalie and you’ve got to pay him, you’ve got to get the money somewhere.  Time and again in the salary cap era, you’ve got to give to get.  Unfortunately for us, those two guys were traded.  It sucks as a teammate.  You hate to see guys go.  They were for all intents and purposes the face of the franchise for four of those six years, if not for the six years they were here.  I’m sure it’s tough for them.  The Philadelphia Flyers, it’s all they really know.  I’ve gone through it a number of times, and sometimes a move is healthy for you.” 

Were you able to reach out to Jeff or Mike? 

“I’m going to give them a call today.  Having gone through it a number of times, you kind of need a day to gather your thoughts and kind of get your wits about you.  It’s certainly not an easy thing.  I think it makes it a little bit easier that they’re both single and don’t have to lug around kids and logistically and that stuff, but it’s still very tough to be traded and I’m sure both of them have mixed emotions.” 

Is the team closer to winning a Cup now? 

 “I don’t know.  I haven’t really thought about that too much.  I just heard about the trades last night so I haven’t really put a whole lot of thought to it, I’m up in the bush with my kids, fishing.  I haven’t put the Xs and Os together – I’m sure you guys have looked at it seven ways from Sunday and tried to figure out who wins or loses.  At the end of the day, as I said before, having been traded a number of times, it’s always difficult.  They both played their hearts out in Philly, but sometimes as I said, you’ve got to make tough decisions and you’ve got to make moves, and sometimes it may hurt and may feel like you’re making your team worse to make it better.”  

Does this team have a better locker room today? 

“I don’t know.  I don’t really know those other guys they brought in.  I played against Wayne Simmonds for one or two years when I was in Anaheim, but other than that, when you play on the East Coast, you don’t really play the West very often, and vice-versa.  When I was coming out here I didn’t really know many of the guys here, because I’d played in the West pretty much my whole career.  I can’t really speak to that right now, having no luxury to know any of the three guys we picked up.” 

Did you think there was a problem in the room? 

 “I don’t think anybody would say a year ago when we went to the Stanley Cup Final that there was a chemistry problem.  [That year] I think our play was very inconsistent, and we were trying to find ourselves as a team with a new coach and a new system.  I think the players were trying to find where they needed to be and how we needed to play to be successful as a group.  Last year, you’re coming off a tough defeat in the Stanley Cup Final in overtime, we got off to a good start, and nobody seemed to think we had a problem then.  As the season wore on, for whatever reason, we just didn’t turn that corner and continue to get better and peak at the right time.  That’s disappointing, and it’s tough.  I don’t think there was necessarily a rift, I think we just needed more life in the locker room.  It all has to do with your play on the ice.  If you’re playing well on the ice, there’s never any questions as to who’s doing what or is there a rift, does this guy like that guy, and all of the rest of the stuff that gets thrown out.  If you play well on the ice, nobody wants to write about that because everything’s going good.” 

Do you want to be the captain? 

 “You know what, I haven’t put much thought in it to be honest with you.  This is all very, very fresh to a lot of us.  Obviously I’d have to talk to Homer and Lavi and see what their thoughts are, and kind of go from there.  You don’t nominate yourself.  I’ve never been part of a team where somebody nominates himself.  I think that may be a little bit premature to start talking about stuff like that.  It’s one day after two huge trades on our team and in the history of the Flyers, so I don’t think that’s in anybody’s minds right now.”

West wins NBA All-Star Game; Anthony Davis earns MVP with record performance

West wins NBA All-Star Game; Anthony Davis earns MVP with record performance

NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis had an All-Star Game for the record books.

And on a night when Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant provided a glimpse of the past, Giannis Antetokounmpo showed he's clearly part of the future and a midcourt lob attempt from James Harden even went in, Davis absolutely stole the show.

He scored 52 points, 10 more than Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record that had stood for 55 years, and the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference 192-182 on Sunday night -- the highest-scoring game in league history.

Davis made 26 shots and took 39, both of those also All-Star records. He even outdid Westbrook, who had 41 points in just 20 minutes -- which ordinarily would have been enough to merit him what would have been a third straight MVP award.

Not this time. It was Davis hoisting the trophy, to the delight of his New Orleans fans.

"It was a lot of fun," Davis said. "My teammates did a great job of looking for me."

Durant had a triple-double with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Stephen Curry added 21 points for the West -- where a subplot emerged as DeMarcus Cousins played only two minutes, prompting some speculation that a trade sending him out of Sacramento might be looming.

Antetokounmpo had 30 points for the East, with 12 dunks in his night. LeBron James scored 23 points to become the first All-Star to eclipse 300 in a career, Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 14 assists, and Isaiah Thomas scored 20 for the East.

Davis became the story that overshadowed The Story coming into this game, that being the Durant-Westbrook whatever.

And if there is any animus remaining between Durant and Westbrook, it was hidden. They passed each other the ball and slapped hands in the pregame layup line, and not long after Westbrook checked into the game the former Oklahoma City teammates provided one of the game's top highlights -- a give-and-go, capped by Durant lobbing the ball to set Westbrook up for a dunk.

"OH MY GOD! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?" Curry shouted on the West bench, which moments later broke into celebration. Players jumped and threw hands skyward, Curry tossing a cupful of water onto a smiling Durant amid it all.

Draymond Green called the play "cute," and Westbrook and Durant seemed happy with it as well.

"It was a nice give-and-go, man," Westbrook said. "Good give-and-go. Made a good pass. I barely got over the rim, but it was a nice give-and-go."

Added Durant: "It was a great basketball play. He was open so I threw him the lob. He can jump really high so yeah, good play."

Some fans were shouting "De-Fense!" in the fourth quarter. West center DeAndre Jordan heard them, rising from his seat on the West bench to yell "No, no, no" back in their direction.

If those fans were serious, they were disappointed.

Westbrook scored 12 points -- all on 3s -- in a 63-second span late in the third quarter, coming off the bench and firing over and over and over again. And then he opened the fourth quarter with another 3, giving him 34 points in just under 14 minutes played to that point.

It looked like he was a cinch for MVP honors, until Davis scored 20 points in the fourth.

Tip-ins
East: Irving also led the East in rebounds with seven. ... Kyle Lowry scored 19 points and DeMar DeRozan added 16. ... No East player logged more than 24 minutes.

West: Curry took cover in the third quarter, comically hitting the deck face-first as Antetokounmpo went in for yet another dunk. So later in the quarter, Antetokounmpo went over Curry for a rebound slam -- one that left Curry staring at the scoreboard for a replay. ... Kawhi Leonard had a steal and dunk in the opening minute, a defensive display that left West coach Steve Kerr in hysterics.

Celeb watch
A huge roar greeted Jon Batiste, who performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" pregame, when he started the song.

It wasn't for him.

That happened to be the moment when John Legend -- the halftime performer -- and Chrissy Teigen were shown at their sideline seats on the video screens around the arena. And a louder cheer came not long afterward when Beyonce and Jay Z got on-screen.

Among the other celebs in the seats: Guy Fieri, Dave Chappelle, Julius Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and The Roots.

Up next
The next All-Star Game is Feb. 18, 2018, in Los Angeles, which will host for a record sixth time.

Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

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Temple's youth shows again as lead slips away late in loss to UConn

BOX SCORE

Temple’s Sunday tilt with UConn at the Liacouras Center was the embodiment of a young team trying to find its way.

The Owls had a double-digit lead against one of the hottest teams in the nation, thanks in part to their young guys producing in pivotal moments in the game.

However, the inability to finish cost Temple again, as the Owls allowed Jalen Adams to convert a reverse layup with 2.9 seconds remaining in a 64-63 loss to the Huskies (see Instant Replay).

“It’s hard,” Temple Head Coach Fran Dunphy said after the loss. “We have two of these now. We have Tulsa (70-68 on Jan. 14) and Connecticut at the buzzer at home. There’s not a lot to say.

“If we all make one better decision, including me, whether it’s a defensive set, a substitution or whatever. They hold onto the ball, they get a rebound, they make a shot, whatever it happens to be. We all make one better decision and we’re coming away with two great wins in Tulsa and UConn and not sitting here after two tough losses.”

After UConn hit a three to tie the game at 60, Temple freshman Quinton Rose made a huge three-pointer of his own to put the Owls back up 63-60 with 2:32 left in the game.

With Temple (14-14, 5-10 AAC) still clinging to a three-point lead, sophomore Shizz Alston, Jr. came up with a huge offensive rebound, only to turn it over with 1:08 left on the clock. Adams came up with the steal and raced up the court, but was fouled by Rose while attempting a dunk.

Following Adams’ two makes at the free-throw line, Temple’s lead was trimmed to just 63-62. On the ensuing possession, senior Daniel Dingle was fouled by UConn guard Rodney Purvis.

Dingle missed the front end of a one-and-one set at the line, which set the stage for Adams’ acrobatic shot to give the Huskies (14-12, 9-5 AAC) their seventh win in the last eight games.

“We knew they were going to come off that high ball screen with Adams,” Dunphy said. “We needed to sit down and keep him in front of us. One guy could have helped a little bit more than he did. It would have been a drive and kick for an open jumper, but it would have been better than [a layup]. The other guy just needs to sit down on that play and keep Adams in front of him, but we knew that ball screen was coming.”

“I honestly thought the ball was going to Purvis because he made the last three shots, so I did my best to deny him,” Dingle said. “[Adams] did a fantastic move.”

Things had been going Temple’s way for a majority of the night. The Owls led for the vast majority of game time thanks in part to 5 of 9 shooting from three in the first half, which gave them a 35-29 halftime lead. The lead increased to 56-46 with 8:29 left in the contest.

Dingle’s all-around play and leadership helped push Temple ahead. Freshmen Damien Moore and Alani Moore II combined for 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting.

However, the Owls went cold late. Temple made only 2 of 12 three-point shots in the second half.

UConn's day went in the opposite direction as the Huskies shot a blistering 54.2 percent in the second half and 62.5 percent from downtown. Purvis poured in 13 of his game-high 18 after intermission.

“The younger guys are doing very well,” said Dingle, who finished with 17 points, six rebounds and six assists. “We’re going to learn how to win. They’re doing a great job. It just so happens that we let one get away again.”

The Owls have made close defeats a habit. Sunday marked their fifth loss this season by five points or less.

These type of losses are the reason why Temple is in the eighth spot in the American Athletic Conference. With three regular-season games left and the AAC conference tournament quickly approaching, this Temple team, which holds victories over No. 9 West Virginia and No. 17 Florida State, will need to start showing the same promise it had earlier in the season to keep alive any dreams of dancing in the NCAA Tournament.

“I definitely talk to the guys about having that sense of urgency,” Dingle said. “For me, time is running out, so that’s the sense of urgency I’ve got. We’ve got to get there as a whole. I say that in the huddle, ‘We’ve got to get there.’ I remember being a freshman to now I’m in my fifth year. Time is not waiting, so every game we’ve got to go out there and play like it’s our last.

“The sense of urgency I think is all right but it has to increase. In order for us to get an opportunity to play in the NCAA [Tournament] – that’s something I want to do and I know the team wants bad for us as a whole and definitely for the seniors. Coach talks about the sense of urgency has to pick up.”