Sans Pronger, Flyers leading by committee

Sans Pronger, Flyers leading by committee
April 25, 2012, 1:56 pm
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Nov. 19 at Winnipeg.

That was the last time a Flyer wore the C in a game this season. The last time Chris Pronger was on the ice.

Pronger missed the teams final 63 games with post-concussion syndrome. No other Flyer was named captain. Instead, the club went with alternates the rest of the way.

The captaincy in hockey is very over-rated, Danny Briere said last summer. If you have have strong leaders in the room, you dont need to worry about naming a captain.

If you look at the success the Flyers had this season having not named someone to replace Pronger, it would be impossible to argue that there was a legitimate need to have one.

Pronger was not present at the team photo shoot at seasons end, yet his face will be digitally inserted into the picture. That tells you what this club thinks of him: he is their captain and they will wait until he returns.

Our leadership group is really solid right now, coach Peter Laviolette said. We dont do things because theres an article written. Theres great leadership, starting with Chris Pronger.

Hes not available to us. Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere, Jaromir Jagr. Scott Hartnell. The list goes on. Max Talbot. Claude Giroux certainly is a tremendous leader. Hes really started to spread his wings in that direction, but we have a great leadership group in our room

Were just fortunate we have a group like that, based on the back half being so young. Thats where the veteran leadership comes in.

They say the need for a captain is greatest during the playoffs when pressure mounts in small increments every series until a team reaches the Stanley Cup Finals.

While that may be true, the Flyers leadership group, which now represents about one-third of the team in its size, has more than handled the job.

You could devise a convincing argument that Girouxs actions this season in becoming the on-ice and dressing room leader on this club was worthy of captain status.

If Pronger were to retire, Giroux, among others, would be a leading candidate to replace him.

Players dont need a 'C' on their jersey to step up and be a leader, Matt Carle said. Between Kimmo and Danny and G and Jags, we have a lot of guys who have been around this league a long time and know what it takes to win.

So its not like all these young guys are looking up to one guy. Its more leadership by a group.

Which is why in the Pittsburgh series, before Game 1 began, Talbot and Scott Hartnell went around the dressing room talking to Flyer rookies about what it would be like playing their first-ever playoff game on the road.

After the game, a couple rookies, including Brayden Schenn, admitted it was important having someone do that.

Thats what captains do.

Right now, the Flyers have more than a half-dozen captains in the room who have been carrying Prongers torch since last fall.

It will remain that way for as long as the Flyers last in these Stanley Cup playoffs.

E-mail Tim Panaccio at tpanotch@comcast.net