Overcoming incredibly short odds, Pronger named Flyers captain

Puck Daddy

A brief chronology of defenseman Chris Pronger's time as Philadelphia Flyers captain, before he was actually given the 'C' on Friday by the team:

Dec. 2009: The Flyers struggle, losing five of six games and tumbling down the standings. Everyone looks to captain Mike Richards for leadership. When that doesn't work, they all look to Pronger, who was acquired at the NHL Draft in a trade with the Anaheim Ducks, to act like the captain he was in with the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.

Despite everyone treating him like a captain in waiting, Pronger concedes to Richards: "He's the captain. He needs to show the rest of the players that it is his team. I don't want to be the guy that has to stand up every day and tell ourselves to look into the mirror and play better and all this stuff."

May 2010: Richards and Pronger bond during the Winter Olympics, and Pronger begins to mentor the captain on being a captain. "As the year went along he found his niche. His leadership role and the way he would lead our team and it's been successful for him," said Pronger. The best indicator of their budding bromance: Richards goes from calling him "Chris" to "Prongs."

June 2010: Having carried the Flyers in the playoffs in a way the team's captain never could, Pronger completes an MVP-level performance by distracting the media's criticism. After the Flyers went down 2-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, Pronger started stealing game pucks and shot a towel at Ben Eager. Richards, meanwhile, had 1 goals and 1 assist in the series, skating to a minus-7.

May 2011: Facing renewed criticism by the media, Richards's captaincy is again defended by Pronger, who brushed off the idea that Richards was unfit for the role: "What good does that do? That is the most ridiculous thought I have heard yet," Pronger said. "This is on the job training for Mike. I was brought in to help him be a captain and do all the rest of that and kind of help with my experiences. I think I got here, he was 24, he's now 26. I think he's made some strides."

June 2011: The Flyers trade captain Mike Richards to the Los Angeles Kings. Said Pronger about changes to the Flyers locker room after the trades of Richards and Jeff Carter: "I don't think there was necessarily a rift, I think we just needed more life in the locker room. It all has to do with your play on the ice. If you're playing well on the ice, there's never any questions as to who's doing what or is there a rift, does this guy like that guy, and all of the rest of the stuff that gets thrown out. If you play well on the ice, nobody wants to write about that because everything's going good."

August 2011: Danny Briere of the Flyers admits that Chris Pronger was the "de facto captain" of the team: "Yeah, definitely. … Richie wore the letter and was the captain but he wasn't by himself."

Sept. 2011: Captain Pronger is given the 'C', with Briere and Kimmo Timonen named the alternates. Said GM Paul Holmgren: "With Chris' experience and presence, we felt that he was the perfect player to take over as captain of the Philadelphia Flyers."

What does he mean by "take over" ...?

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