Briere: Pronger was Flyers de facto captain last year

Briere: Pronger was Flyers de facto captain last year
August 30, 2011, 4:05 pm
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Danny Briere spoke rather candidly on Tuesday on the issue of the vacant captaincy on the Flyers.

He also admitted that Chris Pronger was the defacto captain even when Mike Richards was here.

It would be an honor," said Briere of a potential captaincy. "Is it something that matters? No. That I have a letter or not, I wont change the way I play or act in the dressing room. If I have something to say, I dont need a letter to stand up and say to guys, this is the way I see it.

When you look around the room and the old captains and the name on that board, it would be a tremendous honor, but it's not something I need. I think Chris Pronger felt the same way. Everyone saw Chris as one of our leaders last year.

Was Pronger the de facto captain?

Yeah, definitely, Briere replied. Richie wore the letter and was the captain but he wasnt by himself.

Briere said that Richards mentioned many times that he had others in the room helping him as a captain.

Briere says that the captaincy always seems to be a big issue among the media with the Flyers.

Its funny, that is the one thing since I have been in Philly, it always seems like its a big issue, Briere said. Like its an important thing for the outside world -- those outside our dressing room.

But with the players we have here, I dont see it as a big issue. Richie was the captain, yeah, but he wasnt the only leader. He wasnt by himself in the dressing room. There were four or five guys who could have been captain. I never had a letter but I always felt I had a role to play as a leader.

The big question is whether Prongers health factors into the captaincy. Or should it? Peter Forsberg never got to wear the C as much on the ice as he should have under coach Ken Hitchcock because of his issues with his feet.

Pronger has both back and wrist injuries, which will curtail his initial involvement in camp. Pronger said he is feeling good and has gotten the go-ahead to ramp up his training from his doctors.

You never know with injuries, Briere said. If we could all look ahead and know what everyone was going to have to go through injury-wise, it be a lot easier. Who knows? I dont think Chris Pronger before last year had been hurt a lot in his career. Hes played a lot of games.

In my case, I had two injuries in my 14-year career and a lot of times I am referred to as being injury prone. I had one injury in Buffalo and missed half a year and another here when I missed three-quarters of the season.

Briere said in awarding the captaincy, injury should not be a factor because you are asking to look ahead and predict a players health and his availability on the ice.

You dont know whats going to happen, Briere said. You could pick a guy and say, he never gets hurt. But it might be his year and he could get hurt. You cant pick a captain based on what you think his injuries might be.

Briere was joined on the ice with NHL vets Scott Hartnell, James Van Riemsdyk, Max Talbot, Wayne Simmonds, Justin Williams, Todd Fedoruk and Ilya Bryzgalov and Tommy Sestito.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net

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