Hey guys, I've been a follower for the past 2 years but have just recently joined the community, 2 days ago to be exact. Anyway, I was listening to Eskin
today yesterday (as of this 8:30 am update without reading the friday fly by) and heard that Pronger will play in Game 5, he has been practicing and from what I heard he is apparently ready to go for Game 5. IMO This is both a good and bad thing.
- Good because without Pronger, this team has no identity. Without Prongs, we have no swagger, and Pronger is basically the pseudo-captain of this team. Richie is a great player but more of a lead by example type of player, but Pronger is the kind of guy that can lead the team both on and off the ice and provide the type of locker room presence that Lappy did but Richie can't.
- I believe a lot of our PP struggles this year are because Pronger has only played 50 games this season. Teams need to watch out for his big shot and pinpoint passes and that is the reason we haven't seen as many Briere slam dunks from the goal line or rebound goals since the Sabres can collapse and block passes/clear rebounds, so his return to the lineup at ~100% should be very beneficial to our special teams, assuming we actually get a few makeup calls this game (not whining Ruff, just stating a fact.)
- Bad because I believe we can win this series without him. This team isn't built around one player, and they can win when injury strikes. However, with Carter out , while Pronger may not need to re-enter the lineup, his presence will certainly soften the blow. While I'm happy he'll maybe back for game 5, I'm still not sure this is the right move by the organization. I was hoping we could close out the series without Pronger and get him that last week or two of rest before round 2, maybe some full practices with hitting/shooting to shake off the rust before he jumps in. Then again, this is the playoffs and we are already half way through this series and need to live in the present, and I believe that simply the aura of mystery that surrounded him in games 1 and 2 when he gave us his beautifully worded 'guarantee' of being "confident he would return during the series" may have taken the heat off (circa 2010 SCF) of the fact that the flyers continued to struggle offensively in game 1, despite generating tons of chances and heaping 35 shots on Miller, and certainly may have been a panic sign for those of us who bought into the 'turn on the switch' arguement (cough Geoff cough...and myself based on last years playoff run among other seasons where the flyers seemed to limp into the playoffs to flip on the switch based on an individual (Primeau, Lindros) or a total team effort (following Pelle's death, a little before my time but none the less, going to game 7 in '87 was the story I grew up with in the 90's, and starting off as a goalie/defenseman, absolutely loved hextall and mark howe, but I digress, perhaps another time for anyone who wants to talk hockey ;) ).
A lot of things in that last very long run on sentence, which I'm sure I'll hear about (hopefully, been working on this post for a while and being how its my first one I really have the jitters! if you couldn't tell by the excessive parenthetical annotations I've added), I know, but I've been up all night "studying" for a bacterial physiology exam with the help of several cups of coffee, a couple of buds, and "study" aids, if you know what I mean...and have to drive home for easter with the family today, so please bear with me!
What I'm asking is what everyone is thinking: Is bringing Pronger back for Game 5 the right move? Or should we rest him for at least one more game to see if we can win Game 5 , gain the upper hand in the series and close it without him. I would like to see him play, because I want to see the more dominant Flyers team with Pronger in the lineup, which corsi numbers show is true (AH STATS! Props to Eric T. btw, awesome job keeping track of all them/positing them, really makes a big difference to the not so casual/slightly obsessive fan).
Also, another thing to consider for tonight's game is who's spot does Pronger take? Again, SOD provides that veteran locker room presence, but just seems to be a step behind. Do we really trust DSOD though? I want to but its crunch time and as the pens have showed us far too often, veteran presence from a guy who has a cup really does make a difference in the playoffs.
One final thing and I swear I'll shut up, (over 1000 words on my first post, and to think it started last night at 1 AM with only 300, really need to get some sleep but won't until at least after the game, hopefully in drunken celebration with the boys down in S.Jersey), but who do we put in for Carter. Nodl (assuming he's healthy) to fill in for carter's defensive abilities, or a black ace that may provide some more offense than Nodl, and cover up the defensive loss of Carter with Pronger's return? (Carter really has stepped up as a two way player, he's actually been playing physical but not over aggressive or lazy lately. It would work out that he finally finds out how to use his 6-2(3?) ~200 pound frame to become more than a one dimensional forward in the PLAYOFFS, and immediately sprains his MCL (allegedly, for all we know he may have had his leg amputated and Homer says he tried to practice today and had a 'minor setback' )) But anyway, what do you think?
(Had to throw in the (somewhat) advanced stats reference since I really want to see what you guys have to say on this and maybe enlighten me as to the more logical decision, because my heart says prongs should be in but my head says he should rest at least one more game.)
Anyway, off to the bar at 9:40 AM on a Friday (after putting more effort into this than any of my classes all semester) to start the day off right with a bacon egg and cheese and a pint of guinness before my exam. Ah the life of a 21 year old in college.
LETS GO FLYERS