It has been too long of a summer with too many questions thrown up.
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Was trading Sbisa a huge mistake?
Can anyone make up for Knuble on the PP?
How much of the teams implosion was really the fault of the Goalies?
Will Pronger make all the difference?
I really don't expect any of these to be answered in the first game. Some may take a couple years to play out (Sbisa). Some are as much a part of perception as performance (goalies) and some are a matter of defining the difference.
Pronger, barring injury, will be a huge addition. He plays a ton of minutes. He hits like not modern era Flyer defender has ever hit. He adds a huge shot to the PP point. Most importantly he is a no nonsense locker room pressence. There will be no "we don't have to show up every night" with Pronger in the room.
The other plus of having Pronger is that it means all of the other defensemen's jobs get a little easier. Whoever his partner is will play a lot of minutes. But Timonen will most likely play a lot more selective minutes. He will not have to be on the ice all the time on the PP or PK or against the other teams top line. That alone will make Timonen's jobe easier.
As for the Goalies, I think that there will be a lot of people who look good at the move to Emery and a lot of people will look bad as well. Emery is an athletic vocal goalie who does not back down. Nitty and Biron were both fine goalies but neither was the top flight goalie that you need to win a cup. Biron could have been the second goalie, but not a the price he was asking. Nitty could not stay healthy enough and had serious flashes of just plain bad play. . .
I can't wait to see all of the new faces and all of the old ones back on the ice tonight. It may be a long season, but it has been too long coming.
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