Chris Pronger spoke with the media on a conference call today, and while most of the conversation focused on the upcoming Winter Classic, Pronger also spoke about how the team needs to just get back to the basics and start having fun in order to get back on the winning side of things. He said that this current road trip, accompanied by the Winter Classic on the 1st, is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
"I think when you're struggling like we have, it's nice to get back on the road and kind of get away from everything and try to bond on the road and really find ourselves, find our identity again," Pronger said. "I think we've lost it through this last little stretch. Going on the road, getting together, having team dinners and being around the guys and getting the group together is always a good way to kind of get over what ails you, and... this six game stretch here is very important to our hockey team."
Pronger was asked about the Winter Classic, and how the event can be used by the Flyers as a tool to make the game fun again.
"It is the perfect setting to be honest with you. What better way to get back to your roots and your childhood than playing in an outdoor game and playing in front of, I don't know, 35,000 people and enjoying yourself out in nature and the elements. It certainly should be a lot of fun. ... I'm hoping that the fun will already be back in our game before the 1st, but it would definitely be a step ahead and a step in the right direction as well."
As fans, we've been sitting here analyzing the problems with this team for weeks now, but could it really be something as simple as just going out there and playing hockey, not squeezing your stick too hard, and just letting the game come to you? Pronger seems to think so, and when he was asked about the changes Peter Laviolette has put in place, he said it doesn't really make a difference.
"We can talk about all the X's and O's and things like that, which obviously [Laviolette has] implemented his own systems and they're a little bit different, but at the end of the day, it's hockey. We've all played this game for a long time, and you've got to go out there and play the game and have fun and work for one another and work for the guy sitting next to you."
Is it that simple (and don't confuse simple with easy)? Can this time on the road be what cures that Flyers? At the very least, Pronger believes in the possibility.