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Flyers need to take a page from 2006 Phillies and shake up the team


The 2010-2011 Flyers will meet for one last time Monday. They will clean out their lockers, meet with coaches,The return of Chris Pronger is vital to the Flyers' Stanley Cup chances. Photo: http://www.businessinsider.com and do it all over again in just a few months.

Something tells me several players on the team might give Chris Pronger a funny look or two when he stops by.

Whether it’s a family business, or someone who you can learn from, I was always taught that if someone can help you or make you better who is older, wiser, and simply been around the block a time or two, to just shut your mouth, keep your ears open, and listen.

Chris Pronger has won a Stanley Cup, multiple gold medals, and an ice hockey World Championship.

So if I’m a young player on the Flyers, and Pronger calls me out on something, I shut up, listen to him, and make sure I don’t do it again.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not that easy.  I’m not on the Flyers, and I’m not in the locker room.

Pronger was interviewed on Comcast SportsNet Sunday, and one of the questions Pronger was asked was what exactly happened when he called out Claude Giroux for his play after a game several months ago. While Pronger is never one to mince words, he remained unusually coy when asked to elaborate. Pronger never played again during the regular season, and some have said this was the beginning of the team’s slide: one which they never seemed to recover from.

There has been lots of finger pointing recently regarding the orange and black, and Friday night’s sweep at the hands of the Bruins only magnifies things. Nobody seems to know just what the heck the problem is with the Flyers. And more importantly, who is causing it?  

Either way, it’s downright annoying. This is a page right out of those pre-championship Phillies teams. Nobody is going to feel sorry for millionaire malcontents.

Truth be told, maybe it’s time for the Flyers’ management to take a page out of the Fightins’ book from back in the day. The similarities are eerie.

I’m going to offer my humble opinion (which could be totally wrong) in a game of role playing and see what happens. After all, that’s what we do at P2P: We call it as we see it.

Much like Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, many saw Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell as another duo that would take the Phils to the next level. As a result, the two are given both large contracts, and they have problems living up to them.

Abreu has a lot of natural talent, but there seems to be something missing. Labelled with high expectations from the start similar to another Phillies legend named Schmidt, Burrell does not want any parts of the media, but sure does like the ladies. It is rumored that Burrell is capable of having a clubhouse presence, but it is rarely seen publicly.

Then, Aaron Rowand comes into town with a championship on his resume. He sees potential with his new team,Aaron Rowand- Hard Baller. Photo: MLB.com and isn’t at all afraid to get in people’s faces about things if he sees fit.  In fact, he might even break his face for the team.

It's now 2006. The Phillies are making strides, but something's got to give. In order for this team to get to the next level, there needs to be a drastic change. The rumors start flying, and eventually their player with the best overall statistics (on paper) is traded. The Phillies really don’t benefit from the deal, but it was made out of necessity more than anything.

See where I’m going with this?

Pronger comes to the Flyers and what happens? He (possibly) sees the team’s  two best players not living up to their potential, crashing frat parties and living the high life. And dare I say it, sometimes maybe not being completely focused on hockey’s ultimate goal.

If I am Pronger, I’m thinking this is a joke. You can’t win a Stanley Cup like this.  He seems to act more like a captain than Richards does. The team follows this guy’s lead? He’s the captain? Really? Richards doesn't even try to talk to the media!  I’m the one going to the Hall Of Fame, I’ve got the hardware. They’ve got squat!

Do the young guys relate more to Richards? Do the veterans on the team side with Pronger? Who shot J.R?  That’s just to see if you were still awake. Who knows? Maybe I'm really stretching things, and the issue isn’t with Pronger at all.

Then there’s Peter Laviolette. Has he become Mike Keenan? Have the players already quit on him and shut him out this early in his Flyers coaching tenure? They did with John Stevens, why not Laviolette? He certainly cracks a meaner whip, so it’s not out of the question. Did he panic by playing “musical goalies”?

Personally, you couldn’t find more of a bigger bad ass than Flyers GM Paul Holmgren to try and sort things out here.

Homer’s a smart guy and he’s knows this is a mess. As much as I want him to put these guys in a room with him to hash out the BS, the real problem is that Holmgren has his hands tied. Pronger, Laviolette, Richards and Carter all have multi year deals you just can’t get out of. As mentioned earlier, the Flyers' lackluster performance against Boston cannot be taken lightly. If they won the Stanley Cup last year, we aren’t talking about this. But right now, this looks more like a team who overachieved for one season.

It might be the players, the head coach, or even the goal tending situation, but something needs to be done to right this ship. If not, we are going to be here next year discussing the same exact thing. I for one, am getting sick of it. This same kind of nonsense tainted the Phillies until they made some changes, and now it’s ruining the Flyers.

What’s that definition of insanity again?


Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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