It’s been nearly two months since Flyers captain Chris Pronger’s career took a turn for the concussed. On Nov. 21, he was placed on long-term injured reserve and was declared out for the remainder of the 2011-12 season with concerning and lingering concussion symptoms.
With the injury came a long silence, which was broken on Saturday night on the Flyers’ official Twitter.
“It is very, very tough right now,” Pronger said. “I don’t feel well and it hurts so much not to be playing.”
The heartfelt statement of frustration reaffirms thoughts that the 36-year-old is indeed done for the season, which includes playoffs. Like Keith Primeau before him, who retired because of concussion issues, the unwavering set of concussion symptoms also puts Pronger’s lustrous career in jeopardy.
Pronger participated in just 13 games and registered 12 points before being shut down because of the injury. Pronger has been described depressed and frustrated by Flyers staffers who have come in contact with the veteran.
With Chris Pronger out for the season with post-concussion syndrome, general manager Paul Holmgren and the Flyers are expected to shop for a minute-eating defenseman to fill the void and solidify the team’s blue line for the stretch run.
According to Edmonton Journal reporter Jim Matheson, the Flyers won’t have to look outside the Eastern Conference to find that.
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It could be felt across Philadelphia.
The type of fear and trepidation that only a head trauma injury could bring.
Late in the second period of Saturday night’s 5-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, an ill-fated and misplayed body check by Claude Giroux put him in the direct contact with teammate Wayne Simmonds.
Simmonds did his best to dodge Giroux, but in trying to leap over him, kneed the Flyers’ leading scorer in the back of his head. Giroux stumbled off the ice and shortly after was sent into the locker room.
He did not return to the game as a precaution according to general manager Paul Holmgren. He will be re-evaluated on a day-to-day basis.
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Facing a crucial Game 2 on Monday against the Boston Bruins, the Flyers need a physical and emotional overhaul if they plan to leave Philadelphia with a split. From the coaches to Brian Boucher in net, the Flyers must be better in almost every facet if they want to climb back into the series.
Here are the keys to Game 2 for the Flyers.
Since Chris Pronger’s Game 6 return to the line up, the talk has been of his impact on the power play, his veteran presence and the spark he could and did provide. That’s all true and proved so in the team’s Game 7 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
But in the long-term, as the big defenseman begins to log more minutes and heal that aching right hand, Pronger’s key contribution will come in the form of pure depth for the Flyers.
“I think his presence back there is huge,” said James van Riemsdyk. “When you get a guy like him back in the lineup it’s huge.”
Gritting their teeth to overcome the crippling effects of poor goaltending, some how, some way, the Flyers are coming home for Game 7. And hidden under the cloud of poor personnel decisions, backstop philosophies and power play inefficiency, the Flyers are winning with pure, unadulterated willpower.
“We’ve shown heart and character from the onset of the season,” Chris Pronger told reporters in Buffalo. “Went through a lot of ups-and-downs and come through in the clutch. It happened again today.
“It’s the drive and desire to win.”
VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers are not the same team without Chris Pronger.
That’s an easily stated fact.
The 17-year veteran works like a pillar, particularly in the postseason, holding strong as everything collapses around him. His grit, violence and experience is unparalleled. His presence and skill around the net is as intimidating as it is effective.
However, as the surly blueliner painfully inches his way back into the line up after suffering a broken hand on Feb. 24 and re-injuring it sometime in mid-March, it would serve in the Flyers’ best interest to forget the big man and start the series against the Buffalo Sabres like Pronger won’t play — which might not fall far from the truth.
Kris Versteeg gathered the puck in the defensive zone early in the second period of Sunday’s Flyers-Rangers contest at Madison Square Garden.
From his own slot, the newly acquired forward tried to brainlessly push the disc through hard-checking Rangers’ forward Ryan Callahan, who easily scooped it up and fired top corner into the Flyers’ net to give the Rangers the 4-0 lead. The Blue Shirts would further their advantage to seven before the final whistle mercifully rang.
“Turnovers are what’s killing us,” Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger told the media after Sunday’s game. “We can look at second-effort and all the rest of that after, but turnovers, we have to get the puck in deep and forecheck and get some sustained pressure down in the offensive zone and start grinding on teams as we’ve done in the past. Until we do that, teams are going to pick us apart like they have been. ”
Late in the third period of Thursday’s 4-3 overtime win against the New York Islanders, Flyers’ defenseman Chris Pronger blocked a shot with what appeared to be his left wrist. The 36-year-old waited until the play stopped before going directly down the tunnel to the locker room. He did not return.
Update: According to general manager Paul Holmgren, x-rays on Chris Pronger’s wrist were negative. He should be OK.
Pronger has four goals and 20 assists in 46 games this season.
Yes, they are, according to a CBCSports.ca and NHLPA.com players poll.
Of the players surveyed, four-percent said the Flyers are the most overrated team in hockey. The vote ranks them fifth behind the San Jose Sharks (10%), Montreal Canadiens (11%) Vancouver Canucks (12%) and the Washington Capitals (35%).
At the All-Star break, the Flyers are tied for first in the NHL in points with 71, while also leading the league in wins with 33.
However, Philly did get some respect. Also ranked was Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, who brought in 20-percent or third place, as the toughest defenseman in the league to play against. He fell behind Nick Lidstrom (20.3%) and Zdeno Chara (34%).
And in a poll that should make everyone happy, when asked if fighting should be abolished in the NHL, 98-percent of the league said no.