VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers are not the same team without Chris Pronger.
That’s an easily stated fact.
The 17-year veteran works like a pillar, particularly in the postseason, holding strong as everything collapses around him. His grit, violence and experience is unparalleled. His presence and skill around the net is as intimidating as it is effective.
However, as the surly blueliner painfully inches his way back into the line up after suffering a broken hand on Feb. 24 and re-injuring it sometime in mid-March, it would serve in the Flyers’ best interest to forget the big man and start the series against the Buffalo Sabres like Pronger won’t play — which might not fall far from the truth.
Impressive so far, now lets see if the Flyers can handle a little adversity.
After consulting a foot specialist, the Flyers officially announced on Friday that defenseman Chris Pronger has a broken first metatarsal in his right foot and will require surgery. The veteran and keystone of Philadelphia’s blue line will miss 4-6 weeks, or as Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer added up, 11-17 games. Pronger, who has four goals and 11 assists in 31 games, should be available to return by Feb. 1.
Pronger, 36, injured his foot in Philadelphia’s 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
Immediately after trading forward Simon Gagne to the Tampa Bay Lightning for 6’4 depth defenseman Matt Walker, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren attempted to explain his reasoning behind the move.
“When we came out of the Stanley Cup Final loss to the Blackhawks, we had specific objectives in mind,” Holmgren told CSNPhilly.com. “And the No. 1 thing on our list was to improve our defense, and No. 2 on our list was to get a little bigger.”
And he seemingly achieved both this offseason by signing Walker, 6’3 forward Jody Shelley, as well as defensemen Sean O’Donnell and Andrej Meszaros, who both stand at 6’2.
But despite the appearance of greater size and talk from the GM, the truth is in the numbers — the Flyers are no bigger than they were last year.
According to TSN, the Flyers have acquired Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros for a second round pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft.