Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 5/6/12

Flyers Defenseman Chris Pronger

The Philadelphia Flyers will play a pivotal game 4 today against the New Jersey Devils. A loss would put them in a 3-1 series hole and facing elimination. A win would knot the series and perhaps go a long way toward erasing the doubts that have crept into the minds of many fans.

Adversity is not something new to these Philadelphia Flyers. They’ve been dealing with it all year long, and up until this moment have responded to it quite well.

This is a young team that features a number of rookies that have player at a level beyond their years in the NHL. That is why the Flyers selected Chris Pronger to be the Captain of this team. Pronger is battle tested. He has been in the NHL for an incredible 18 years and has won the Stanley Cup already. He knows what it takes to win and shown it year in and year out. When the Flyers lost Chris Pronger for the year back in November, it was thought to be a death sentence for this team, but that hasn’t really been the case.

When Ilya Bryzgalov was signed to a 9 year, $51 million contract, he was supposed to be the savior of the franchise and put an end to the Flyers goaltending woes of the last 2 decades. Bryzgalov had an up and down year in his first with the Flyers, and despite the fact that he wasn’t the second coming of Bernie Parent, the Flyers somehow managed to muddle through the season. Instead of getting the job defensively like it was expected of this team, they found ways to get it done offensively and for much of the year, they hid Bryzgalov’s struggles.

Losing the heart and soul of your team, not to mention a heft percent of your team’s scoring, would leave most teams shrugging their shoulders and on the wrong end of the score most nights. When the Flyers made the decision to trade away Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, no one really knew what to expect from them. Coupled with the loss of Ville Leino, the Flyers were losing what amounted to nearly 70 goals a year. It could have decimated any other team. Instead, the Flyers got incredible contributions from rookies like Sean Couturier and Matt Read, and even Brayden Schenn down the stretch. New players like the ageless Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot more than made up for the loss of goals and brought a different atmosphere to the team’s locker room. The Flyers barely missed a beat.

There were major injuries this year too. James van Riemsdyk, after a breakout performance in the playoffs last year, played most of this season hurt. There were abdominal tears, followed by a concussion, and just when it looked like he was finding his way back, he broke his foot blocking a shot. Claude Giroux and Danny Briere both suffered concussions too along the way. Despite what some will tell you, those concussions affected both players dramatically.

What about the defensemen? In addition to Pronger, the Flyers played for stretches without Andrej Meszaros, Kimmo Timonen, Andreas Lilja, Nicklas Grossman, Erik Gustaffsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon. Still, the Flyers soldiered on.

This team put up over 100 points in the regular season while playing 11 rookies, losing key players to injury and having some other players who may not have always played to expectations. Then they rolled the odds on favorite Pittsburgh Penguins right out of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This team has battled adversity all year long. With their backs in a corner now, we may get to see what this team is truly made of. If past performance is any indication, the kids will be alright.

Similar Posts:

  • Flyers Begin Quest For Lord Stanley’s Cup Against Talented Penguins
  • 5 Reasons the Philadelphia Flyers Can Make a Stanley Cup Run
  • The NHL Shows No Love for the Flyers
  • Wayne Simmonds and Max Talbot Proving to be Solid Additions for Flyers
  • Flyers Poor D and Goaltending Are Familiar Issues

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