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Chris Pronger opens up, reveals locker room problems?

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"When you are not playing as well as we had been, and playing like crap on that road trip and losing and losing and then you are starting to come out of it, and playing a little bit better, you are still going to lose coming up that slope. You’re playing good enough to win, but you are still in the dump, you’re losing those games. At some point, that turns and you are winning those games. Then you’ve turned the corner. We’re losing games we should win right now, but hopefully, we’re over the crest, we can see the top and start scoring some goals and win. We need to make it [bleeping] happen on Thursday. It needs to [bleeping] happen now, so we can get over that hump and get this ship headed into the right direction."

>> Chris Pronger

These are things we know. The news, here? Someone is saying it out loud.

Yep, the Flyers are in a funk right now, and Chris Pronger spoke out about it today with CSNPhilly.com. In a 1,075 word article, just about all of them were quotes from Pronger. He spoke for a while and he spoke in a ton of detail giving us a glimpse into his role on this team, into Mike Richards as a captain, and partially into the dynamic of this Flyers locker room.

The biggest bombshell out of Pronger's interview? He respects Richards' captaincy but through the summer, training camp, preseason hockey, and now 24 games of the regular season, Pronger can't get a read on what type of captain Richards is.

"[Richards] hasn’t come to me [to] ask me anything, and it’s delicate because at the end of the day, it’s his team. He’s the captain. He needs to show the rest of the players that it is his team. I don’t want to be the guy that has to stand up every day and tell ourselves to look into the mirror and play better and all this stuff.

"I don’t know if he is ‘rah-rah’ type or talkative type. It is a difficult tightrope to walk. I don’t want to step on his toes. Maybe he is evaluating. You can’t just jump into a situation and ranting and raving without understanding what has gone on here in the past, as well.

It's great that Pronger is respectful to Richards and his captaincy. It wouldn't be right for an outsider to come in and take over, or "step on toes" as Pronger puts it. The problem I see here is that Pronger, a 16-year NHL veteran who has been certainly been around the block a few times, doesn't know what kind of captain Richards is. Shouldn't Richie be setting that kind of tone, as the captain, early in the season? In training camp? Certainly before the quarter pole of the regular season, no?

Every single player on that team should know what kind of captain Mike Richards is, regardless of the amount of time they've spent here. If a player with the resume and leadership qualities that Chris Pronger has can't step into his locker room and understand how the captain interacts with his team, then how is that captain truly a leader? There's a difference between being a quiet, lead-by-example type than having your teammates not understand that you're the quiet, lead-by-example type.

I'm obviously an outsider looking in. I'm not in that locker room on a daily basis, but this seems extremely problematic to me. We've all been trying to wrap our brains around the inconsistency issues surrounding this team for the last several seasons now. Could part of the problem be a leadership void amongst the players, starting with the captain and trickling down to the rest of the team?

What do you think?