Flyers welcome physical player

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VOORHEES, N.J. --- Chris Pronger expects to help Philadelphia win a Stanley Cup this season and beyond.

Working out a contract extension with Philadelphia before he plays his first game with the Flyers is already a priority for the former NHL MVP and potential free agent.

"I'd love to finish my career here," Pronger said.

The Flyers are putting their win-now hopes in the hands of an aging and antagonistic defenseman acquired in a blockbuster, draft-day trade with the Anaheim Ducks.

The Flyers surrendered a pair of first-round picks and a promising prospect as part of the deal, and they want their investment in Pronger to last more than a season. The 34-year-old, who had 11 goals and 37 assists last season, will earn $6.25 million next season. He is hopeful a new deal can be reached before the start of next season.

Pronger is set to roam the ice as the blue line bully the Flyers sorely need if they expect to catch up with Sidney Crosby and the rest of the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

"I think he plays with an attitude. That's what you love about him," Flyers coach John Stevens said.

Pronger, introduced by the Flyers at their practice facility Monday, watched from a distance the past two seasons as Pittsburgh's run of consecutive Stanley Cup finals included a steamroll through Philadelphia.

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound player is seen as an intimidating force with a history of hostile play and a career littered with suspensions.

"The style that (the Flyers) play kind of fits the way that I play," Pronger said.

In 2007, Pronger became the third player ever to be suspended twice in one playoff year and the third to sit out a Stanley Cup finals game for an act committed in the championship round. He was banished for eight regular-season games for stomping on the leg of Vancouver's Ryan Kesler in 2008, and has other suspensions for infractions such as cross-checking, high-sticking and slashing.

"He's gotten in trouble with some suspensions, but it's always with the intention of playing the game the right way," Stevens said.


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