Dazzlers and Duds: Pronger v. Desjardins and Carcillo v. Briere

Image Courtesy of the Courier Post

Image Courtesy of the Courier Post

Several weeks back, we asked our beloved Twitter followers who were their most loved and hated Flyers of the past decade. It led to some great names and some great discussion. Well it got us thinking. In the doldrums that is August in the hockey world — not to mention the impending doom of a lockout —  we decided to put together a tournament; poll style!

We’ve compiled the responses for both the Loved and Hated categories, and seeded them according to our whims and wishes. What you see before you is the result of our efforts. While we may not necessarily agree with some of the nominations, the people have spoken!

Over three weeks, beginning on Monday September 3, we will determine who is the most loved and the most hated Flyer of the past decade.

Each weekday we will post a new poll, containing one match-up for each bracket, both the Loved and the Hated. That poll will remain open until midnight of the same day — or, frankly, whenever we decide to tally the votes — where we will note the winners, and announce them the following day, along with the next day’s match-ups.

Ranting and raving about your love and/or hatred for the given players, is not only allowed, it is encouraged. I, for one, am excited to see the results for some of the more polarizing Flyers!


Yesterday’s results:
It was a pretty lopsided 1 versus 4 seed battle in both cases. Claude Giroux defeated Brian Boucher and Nikolai Zherdev defeated Donald Brashear.

Today’s candidates: (Note: the authors of the write-ups below are not the individuals that nominated the player.)

Chris Pronger:
write-up courtesy of Hal G

Why was Chris Pronger so loved in his limited time in Philadelphia? Oh let me count the ways. Was it his reputation of being an all world, shut down defenseman? Maybe. Was it his stellar performance in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs where he tallied 18 points in 23 games? Perhaps. Or was it his stealing of game pucks in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals to shift the attention away from his team being down 0-2? Quite possible.

With Chris Pronger, it was all that and more. Philadelphia instanteously fell in love with Pronger because, well, simply put, he was born to be a Flyer. Pronger is mean, nasty, gritty, dirty, vicious, and then some. He was a throwback player in the present generation. Whether Pronger is able to lace up the skates again or not, he will go down as one of the most beloved Flyers for his play, spark, and leadership he brought to a team that came this close to a Stanley Cup Championships.

Eric Desjardins:
write-up courtesy of Marcello De Feo 

The case can be easily made that Eric Desjardins was the second best defenseman in the history of the Flyers franchise behind only Mark Howe. Through 11 seasons and 738 games in orange and black, Rico posted 396 points and a +143.

Statistically speaking, Desjardins is second all-time behind Howe among Flyer defensemen in goals, assists, and points. (Note: Desjardins is also the only defenseman to score a hat trick in a Stanley Cup Finals game — but it happened when he was a member of the Canadiens).

Desjardins, who won the Barry Ashbee Trophy a record seven times in Philadelphia (as many as Mark Howe and Kimmo Timonen combined), had a wicked right-handed shot from the point and was an amazing power play quarterback.

While Desjardins had decent size, he was ahead of his time and unwittingly became somewhat of a model for post-lockout defenseman. He was an intelligent player with sound positioning who could rely upon well-rounded skill set more than brute force.

Plagued by injuries in his final years, it is his legacy and legend that push him through as a contender of one of the most likable Flyers of the past 10 years. Like Howe, it was a joy to watch Desjardins play and it was tough to watch his body break down and see him retire from the game.

Who is the more loved Flyer of the past decade, Pronger or Desjardins?

  • Eric Desjardins (68%, 189 Votes)
  • Chris Pronger (32%, 91 Votes)

Total Voters: 279

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Dan Carcillo:
write-up courtesy of Marc Siciliano 

Dan Carcillo never really stood a chance. When the Flyers sent Scotty Upshall AND a second round pick to PHX to acquire the vigilante winger (just let that sink in for a bit. The Flyers added A PICK to the deal in order to make it happen), Carcillo was billed as the prototypical Flyer that had never been blessed with the opportunity to dawn the Orange and Black. I guess whoever said that forgot that Flyers fans liked to watch hockey and not a circus. Carcillo had his highs, including some serviceable stints in a top-6 position and a memorable playoff goal in 2010, but his ill-advised penalties and knack for suspensions left him on the outside looking in when it came to the hearts of many Flyers fans. He never figured out how to make it work and toe the line.

Danny Briere:
write-up courtesy of Geoff Detweiler of Broad Street Hockey 

Danny Briere is a lot like Two Face from The Dark Knight. He starts out as this elite individual worthy of praise, pulling his city out of the drudge that had consumed it. He turned a once-proud organization around, providing key victories in his arena.

But then, something happened. The glow began to fade. First it was injuries, then it was his dark side. We all ignored him spearing Alex Ovechkin in the groin while he was in Philly. Then he jumped at Scott Hannan’s head after the play had ended, earning a suspension. Then he took a two handed swipe at Frans Nielsen’s head during a faceoff.

The dangerous and disrespectful way Briere conducts himself on the ice is the primary reason he is worthy of Top Villain of the Last Decade, but if that were not enough, there is more. His contract runs another three years at $6.5 million, despite him already on the decline at age 34. He hasn’t played a full season since the lockout, he hasn’t touched a point per game since coming to Philadelphia and he hasn’t scored even 70 points since his first year in orange and black.

With this declining offense, Briere already gets outscored while he’s on the ice. He may be clutch in the playoffs, but he has been outscored at 26-15 while at 5-on-5 in the past two playoffs and 55-48 over his career as a Flyer.

Briere is the the most deserving of Top Villain.

Who is the more hated Flyer of the past decade, Carcillo or Briere?

  • Dan Carcillo (84%, 243 Votes)
  • Danny Briere (16%, 46 Votes)

Total Voters: 289

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  • Dogballs

    Briere brings it in the playoffs, that alone is worth the bulk of his salary

    • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

      I don’t hate Briere…I really don’t, but I can 100% understand why some do. How do you explain what Geoff pointed out…Briere is outscored 26-15 at 5 on 5 during the playoffs the past 2 years. That doesn’t exactly seem like “bringing it” to me.

      • Bob H

        This is where “advanced” stats leave me cold. BTW did you know that Wayne Gretzky was on the ice for more goals during his 20-year career than any other player in NHL history?

        • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

          I personally wouldn’t consider 5 on 5 goal differential a particularly advanced stat.

        • http://twitter.com/GeoffDetweiler Geoff Detweiler

          May I ask why that leaves you cold to advanced stats? That’s really just a slightly less terrible plus/minus, not something I would even call advanced.

      • Dogballs

        In the 2010 Cup run he was the best player on the team and deserved MVP of the playoffs. In the past two postseasons, the whole team performed poorly after the first round and while that includes Briere, he was one of their better producers both times. Look at his postseason totals, compared to his regular season totals.

        • Dogballs

          Oh, and I forgot to add. While there is a minus-11 differential in 5-on-5 play, there are also four other players skating with him when those goals are scored while the goaltender has been lackluster in both seasons, also.

  • http://www.facebook.com/vaughanpiccolo Vaughan Piccolo

    I like Desjardins because of his longevity and solid play. He was our best defenseman for years. If Pronger could play out his contract I would vote for him, but he really hurts us being out of the lineup. I know it’s not his fault, but it happened and I can’t put him ahead of Desjardins.

    I didn’t know that stat on Briere. It’s a little skewed though because he should have had two overtime goals against the Devils to help even it out.

  • M.C. Philly

    Briere being on this list as most hated I strongly disagree with. But it is what it is.

    First off, Briere spearing Ovechkin happened when he was in Buffalo – unless there is a 2nd spear I’m unaware of – & that spear came after Ovechkin blind sided him into the boards in a previous game. The Nielsen incident I don’t even think is that bad & funny thing is that Carcillo was then one that then came in & hit Nielsen from behind. The Hannan hit on the other hand, was awful. Straight dirtyness.

    I fail to see how a few incidents would even get him into consideration as a Villain, especially by his own fans. But I guess the people have spoken. Smaller players in the NHL get picked on & often do these types of things to get some space. It’s hockey.

    Also, funny Briere stat is that during his time in Philly Briere’s + – is exactly even.

    I mean if that Flyers team had won The Cup in 2010 Briere would’ve most likely been named Conn Smythe winner & no way he’d been on this list. Remember who won the Conn Smythe that season? Oh right, Toews did. Not that I don’t think he deserved it, he did, but it makes me laugh as he finished with less points then Briere & was a -1. Briere was a +9. But I forgot, this is Philly. We’re only concerned with NOW. Absolutely ridiculous.

    • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

      All I can say is, he wouldn’t have been on my top 16!

      • M.C. Philly

        That’s fair. But I didn’t realize we were debating Briere being on the top all time Flyers team. Last I looked he’s being called one of the top hated, here. It’s astounding & absurd just saying it.

        Now Jeff Carter is a player I can agree with similar points that some people here have voiced as negatives against Briere. That I can get behind. He always seemed like the kid who was too cool for OUR school & hated it when his parents moved & he had to transfer. Like Adam Banks from the Mighty Ducks movies. hahaha.

        But Briere just seems like he loves it here. Loves being a Flyer – same as a guy like Roenick. I’m not saying he’s my all-time favourite Flyer, but he sure as hell is in my top 16 forwards.

        Just looking at a photo of Briere from the 2010 playoffs is reason enough for him NOT to be included on this hated list. How soon we forget fellow fans. For shame.

        • http://www.flyersfaithful.com/ Kevin Christmann

          We aren’t…it really isn’t even a “debate”. Fans offered up their picks as favorite and least favorite, and these were the nominations, that’s all.

          It’s just a matter of where do people place their criteria. Is it the player, type of player, the person, the contract? Everyone is different. Many of us value these guys as people, and Briere would be loved by those people. Others care more about contracts, for one, and Briere would probably be one of their more disliked.

          And Briere IS also in the Top 16 for Loved, the only one who’s in both. Based on the voting, it certainly seems like Briere is far more loved than “hated”.

          • M.C. Philly

            Again, that’s fair. I don’t need grade school chalk work for this online convo. I know what it is. And IN CASE YOU MISSED IT, this IS a debate PERIOD! That’s what this is asking of us & to continue forward.

            Everyone’s point is equal & fair. I think it’s great.

            As you were.