Archive | 8:38 PM

Prognosis Still Unknown For Pronger

14 Dec

Wednesday was a big day for Chris Pronger. The Flyers captain traveled to Pittsburgh to meet with concussion specialists Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins. Even though he was checked out, the Flyers haven’t gotten the results. That, Paul Holmgren said, will come on Thursday.

Collins and Maroon are not the Flyers’ usual doctors and both are known most recently for dealing with Sidney Crosby who, it was recently announced, is out indefinitely with concussion symptoms.

“I think Dr. Maroon’s been used before,” said Holmgren. “I know with Ian Laperriere from a couple years ago, with his issues, we sent Ian there to see him. Obviously he’s become more of a concussion star with Sidney, I guess.”

But the word on Pronger hasn’t come down yet. Claude Giroux remains in limbo as well. Holmgren said on Tuesday that Giroux would take Wednesday off and be re-evaluated on Thursday. Perhaps that will be a big news day for both players.

“Claude Giroux’s status remains the same,” said Holmgren in a news release. “We will have an update on Chris Pronger [Thursday], once we have spoken to the doctors.”


Things Could Be Worse For Claude Giroux

14 Dec

WASHINGTON — As strange as it sounds, things could be worse for Claude Giroux. At least he skated off the ice on his own. Yes, it looked innocent enough when he collided with Wayne Simmonds’ right knee, so a concussion seems bad. But he was luckier than Scott Hartnell.

“I’ve been off on a stretcher two times to the hospital on that kinda stuff,” said Hartnell. “Obviously that stuff’s scary and one time got to go into the little timeout room. I think it was right around Christmas and I didn’t know what month it was right off the bat, so it is a little scary and you just have to take care of yourself.”

On Nov. 26, 2000, in Hartnell’s rookie season, he was knocked out in a game against the Carolina Hurricanes and taken off on a stretcher. He missed the next six games.

The next season, it happened again. Then St. Louis Blue Reed Low hit him in the third period, again causing need for the stretcher. That cost him the final two games of the season. It’s easy to blame the other player or say it was a freak accident, but Hartnell says there’s more to it than that.

“Don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions when you’re two feet away from the boards with your back turned,” he said. “Obviously if someone hits you, you’re gonna go head first into the boards. You wanna keep your head up at all times with things like that. A lot is on the players and obviously a lot is on the player doing the hitting as well. You don’t want to jeopardize someone’s health like that.”

Giroux’s injury, however, is more of a freak accident, but injuries to the head are not uncommon. Certainly no one is going out there with the intent to injure, but hits happen all the time and will always be a part of the game. It’s such commonplace that some players may have concussions and not even know it.

“I’m sure everybody in hockey has had some form of a minor concussion, but it’s just a matter of it being serious enough where the doctors have to take a look at you,” said Matt Carle. “I’ve been fortunate enough, knock on wood, to not have that.”

As it stands now, there are 20 players in the NHL who are feeling some sort of head-related injury according to an unofficial report. That seems high, but not everyone agrees with that assessment.

“You look at the league right now and I think concussions in the league this year are down from last year,” said Paul Holmgren. “Sidney [Crosby] is probably the best player in the league, it’s raised the awareness I guess. Things that have gone on the last few years have raised awareness. The protocol we use to treat these players has changed drastically over the years, so I think that’s a good thing. We’re looking after the players. They’re the most important aspect of it.”

Holmgren added that the awareness of concussions is up and that probably has something to do with the big-name players who have them like Pronger, Giroux, Mike Richards, Kris Letang and even Buffalo’s Nathan Gerbe who is still feeling the effects of a hit by Marc-Andre Bourdon last week.

Some players, like former Flyers Keith Primeau and Eric Lindros, have continued to struggle with head injuries, others luck out and are able to extend their careers despite numerous hits to the head.

Hartnell had a third concussion in 2004, but obviously his career is doing just fine after scoring in his sixth consecutive game on Tuesday night.

“Since then I’ve been, knock on wood, healthy,” said Hartnell. “You just try to not put yourself in those positions where you’re gonna take a vulnerable hit reaching for the puck and there’s a guy coming right at you. He’s thinking he’s taking the body, you’re thinking about the puck and you’re obviously gonna get the worst of it.

“It took me a little while, a couple years to know what to do and a couple concussions make you learn real fast, otherwise you’re gonna be out of the game.”