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Pronger: Defense is improved

Team MVP from last year likes roster additions on blue line

Tuesday, 07.20.2010 / 9:54 AM / News
By Kevin Kurz  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Pronger: Defense is improved

(Voorhees, NJ) – At 35 years of age Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger showed no signs of slowing down last season, his first as a Flyer, during the club’s exhilarating run to Stanley Cup Final. That being said, he wouldn’t mind lessening his workload a bit.
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger answers a question during a news conference at the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

“You need to have that depth so that you aren’t skipping a beat and you’re not playing 30 minutes a night on defense. You are playing 22-25 minutes a night,” said Pronger from the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone on Monday morning. “It allows you to try and stay a little fresher.”

Last year, Pronger saw his ice time climb from 25:55 in the regular season (fifth in the league) to 29:03 in the playoffs (most in the league). Although he takes great care of himself off of the ice and manages his energy well on the ice, he likes the additions the team has made on the back end. Andrej Mezsaros and Sean O’Donnell will join the team and instantly add more depth and skill to the Top 6, giving Philadelphia what some have argued as the best defense corps in the league along with Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Matt Carle and Oskars Bartulis. Matt Walker, acquired via trade with Tampa Bay on Monday, also adds some more size, toughness and depth.

The should allow the Flyers to roll three pairs with more frequency, giving players like Pronger more time to recharge their batteries between shifts. It’s a welcome development.

“You relish the minutes and you relish the opportunity to play at the competitive level that you are playing, but at the same time, you have to look at the big picture,” he said. “Obviously, [Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren] did that by addressing this and acquiring guys at positions that we needed.

“I think with Meszaros and O’Donnell, we are obviously trying to shore up our defense pairings and give us a little more depth back there. This will probably take some minutes off Kimmo and I, and Coby and Matty. So, we will be able to hopefully roll three sets a little more frequently and keep us all a little more sharp and fresh.”

Pronger, who is back the area to train for a few weeks, also isn’t surprised that the roster had to undergo some transition even after the (mostly) successful playoff run.

“Whenever you go to the Final and you have success like this, you have to make some tough decisions. There are always guys that will have to come off your team and there are always holes to fill. This year is no different.

“For the most part, if you look at our team from last year to this upcoming season, the nucleus is still there. We have a great core of players and I think we will be that much more ready to take that next step with the run that we made in the playoffs and the experience that we gained. We saw what it is going to take for us to be successful and win a Stanley Cup. We were close, but not close enough. That is something that we can build on next season, and in the future.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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