PART 2: The New Look Flyers
Q: The team made a lot of moves in the off-season, obviously, and you lost a lot of goals. What is your feeling on the makeover? Do you like the moves that were made?
“I think the biggest thing, [when] you look at offensive production and things of that nature, I think you need to look at projections and where guys are going to take their game with increased ice time, increased power play time, things of that nature. Obviously, with the addition of [Jaromir] Jagr, you’re hopefully going to get 50 or 60 points out of him. [Claude Giroux
], who knows where he takes his game to.
"[James van Riemsdyk
] scratched the surface last year in the playoffs and hopefully he comes back and is able to take his game to the next level. Wayne Simmonds
can come in and provide 15 or 20 goals on the wing. [Jakub] Voracek coming in, he should be able to supply some offense. We lose a lot in [Michael Richards] and [Jeff Carter] and [Ville Leino] but I think you gain some of that back through the improved play and increased ice time, power play and what not for those other guys I mentioned. And then really the style of play. We don’t want to be in shootouts. We don’t want to play in games that are 8-7. We want to be able to rely on our goaltender and our defense, which is where we’re built, and our youth up front, get skating, get physical, get in on the play and create turnovers and things of that nature.” Q: Could you talk about [Ilya] Bryzgalov a little bit and what he does with the defense especially. Are you excited to play in front of him?
“Yeah, I am. I’ve seen him kind of mature over the last five or six years since I was with him in Anaheim, and you know he’s kind of taken his game to the next level, and how he’s played in Phoenix and kind of carried their team to the playoffs. I think we play a very similar defensive style as they did there, very tight defensively, and I’d like to think we play pretty sound defensively as well. I don’t think he’s going to be getting 35-40 shots a night, but you know, 20-25 shots a night. He is just going to have to stay sharp and stay focused. If he plays the way he did in Phoenix we’lll certainly be pleased.” Q: You seem to be the main recruiter. What do you tell the guys coming on to a new team with so much turnover?
“Well, I only talked to one guy. I talked to guys after the trade, so I wouldn’t say I recruited them. But I speak about the ownership and the management and the coaching staff and about the players that are with the team, and talk about what the coach has been selling, what he’s preaching.
"You know, obviously Mr. Snider, what he has done for this team speaks for itself and the moves that Homer’s made, and Lavi’s coaching. You just talk about the personnel. [Jaromir] Jagr was over in Europe for the past three years so he hasn’t seen [James] van Riemsdyk or [Claude] Giroux, he hasn’t seen some of these guys. So you just talk about what type of players they are and about the defense we have and how we play. He obviously knows Bryz. Really I was just answering his questions. He was just trying to make up his mind and he had a decision to make and he had a lot of questions to be answered, and I just answered them for him.” Q: Physically how do you feel and how much do you have left in the tank?
“Again, I don’t really know that you could say I was breaking down, with broken bones and being hit by pucks and all the rest of that. Those are all the things that can sometimes be avoided. Perhaps now I may not block as many shots. I may just get out of the way and let our million dollar goaltender stop those things.”
Q: I guess I am just asking what your durability is?
|Chris Pronger seen with bandages while interviewing with ABC6 during the 2010-11 season. |
“Well, if I’m going off of last year I guess I would call myself a band aid. But I’ve got many other years where you could say I wasn’t a band aid. Sometimes you just have years where things don’t go your way. It was a quick turnaround last year… I played hurt in the playoffs, and had surgery, and was kind of set back in my training, and for whatever reason I had a couple bad breaks along the way and then the back came in. I don’t really know what happened with my back, if it was just a ticking time bomb or what. I don’t think anyone really knows how they hurt their back. I would like to think I’m past all of this, but again, we’ll see how I react once I start lifting weights and pushing myself a little bit harder.” Q: Did that make it even more important to take your time with this? I am sure you talked to other players who have gone through some things like this and the remedy is to take your time.
“Yeah, I think all along I have told Homer, I told Lavi, I told you guys and anyone that’s asked that I’m gonna take my time and make sure I was doing everything that was necessary rehab-wise and what, not whether it be rest or recuperation or whatever it is, to make sure whatever injuries I did have last year were going to be healed up and fully healed and allow me to be healthy whenever it was that I started skating and began playing again, that I was going to be able to go 100% and not look back.” Q: Do you think as much time as you missed last year might have re-energized you?
“Sometimes it can. You have to use the time wisely. For the first little while I couldn’t do anything because of my back, for the first 6 weeks anyway. … everything else to recover as well – where you’re not running the bike, lifting weights, and doing all the rest of the stuff that normally you’re already back doing. You’re able to allow your body to hopefully fully recover. I like to think that taking that much time off will allow me to fully heal up and recover and be able to play another 82 game season.