Tag Archives: Chris Pronger

Twitter Mailbag: Flyers At The Midway Point

10 Jan

From time to time, we reach into the Twitter machine and address some questions that Flyers fans have. With Tuesday night’s game sending the Flyers to the midway point of the year, this is a good time to take a step back and evaluate.

Here’s some of the best:

@ChristopheTaitt — i’m starting to think all the money the Flyers have in goalies is a waste! wasnt Bryz supposed to be stable goaltender?

Yes, he is. Although he said he knew what it would be like coming to Philly, I think he underestimated all the attention and definitely underestimated the microscope that the sports scene lives under. That said, I really think these last two games we’re seeing him play some really good hockey. Yeah, it’s tough to defend a guy who allowed five goals last game, but two of them were put in by his own teammates. I think we’re seeing a more confident Bryz. The question is whether he loses hope because of a loss that was really on his defense and not him.

@cubishboy — What’s the delay in calling Gus up?

I’m not entirely sure. He is physically ready, that much I know. He’s played five games since returning from a left wrist injury and has three assists in that time. In talking to him after the Outdoor Classic, he says he’s just waiting on the Flyers for a call. Andreas Lilja has been a liability on the back line, but he makes $737,500 and Gustafsson makes $900,000. It behooves the Flyers to use as little of their long-term injured reserve cap relief as possible

@RipVanEichwald — supposing bryz doesn’t turn his game around, are there any outs in his contract?

Right now, no. The school of thought exists that the next CBA might have a “get out of jail free” card to use on one contract. Even if the Flyers got that, they probably wouldn’t use it on Bryzgalov’s contract. The more likely scenario is that they use it on Chris Pronger, who has five years left on his deal after this season.

@Flyerdelphia — If they wanted to call up Leighton does he have to go thru re-entry waivers?

They don’t, but yes, he would.

@John_Devereaux — How realistic do u think getting Shea Weber or Ryan Suter would be? Or do they suck it up and bring up an Erik Gustafsson?

Paul Holmgren is becoming more and more unpredictable. Right now, I think the Flyers will keep with what they have. Come time for the trade deadline (Feb. 27) if the Nashville Predators don’t think they’re making a run, I think the Flyers could go after Shea Weber. To me, Weber looks like Pronger in 1999. I guess we’ll see what Holmgren thinks in late February.

@major78 — …Dave…Why all the turnovers lately? How did Ott shut down our #1 line?…What are the fixes?

Claude Giroux told reporters that it wasn’t so much what the Senators did to him, but rather his own uninspired play. Most of the turnovers lately have come in the Flyers’ own end. The fix is just to play more responsibly defensively. Some passes need to not be made.

@Estebomb — Can the Flyers throw Chris Pronger into a Batman type Lazarus Pit to revive him? What about a time machine?

There are side effects to the Lazarus Pit. What if he comes out as Ra’s al Ghul? As for the time machine, the Flyers don’t have enough cap space for the DeLorean.

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Pronger Concussion Stemmed From High Stick

16 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — At the time, the fear was blindness. Chris Pronger took the stick of Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski to his right eye and went down screaming. After sitting out six games, Pronger played another five. Little did the Flyers know, they say, the captain had a concussion during that time. Now the fear is his his overall health.

“I think that’s probably the initial thing that started this whole process,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “Going through the timeline with him [Thursday] and what happened since that injury, he came back, practiced with the team prior to going to Florida and playing that game in Tampa. He felt like he was just out of shape when in fact he was still having some symptoms, which continued. He continued to play games and then it just came about in Winnipeg where it’s a smaller building where it’s really loud. It’s really a neat atmosphere there, but he just couldn’t deal with it.

“He couldn’t deal with the lights. He couldn’t deal with the noise and he just felt awful. From that point on, the process that we went through with the ImPACT test prior to our next game against Carolina at home, he’s continued to have these symptoms that are not feeling like himself, he has that headache, he’s nauseous. That’s where we’re at.”

Now, after honoring the recommendation of two neurologists in Pittsburgh, the Flyers have shut Pronger down for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs. But there is still fear that it could cost him more than the next six months. Although the doctors didn’t say that Pronger’s severe post-concussion syndrome is career threatening, that remains a possibility.

“I guess you’d have to say yeah,” said Holmgren. “Chris is 37-years-old. I’m a glass is half full kinda guy and I hope for the best all the time. We’ll see how it goes.”

The symptoms that Holmgren listed are mostly in-line with that of Ian Laperriere a couple years ago when he was hit in the eye with a puck. His career appears to be over as after this season his contract will expire and he will have sat out two full NHL seasons.

“Certainly the light part is something,” said Holmgren about the similarities, “but I don’t know that he and Ian compared about the noise. Ian didn’t feel like Chris feels right now. Chris has had a fairly persistent heartache for quite awhile.”

Pronger toughed it out and was allowed to play through the headache until he couldn’t take it anymore after the Winnipeg game. That night, he had a team-high 26:41 of ice time and two assists. But, he was also on the ice for four opposing goals, a minus-2 for the evening.

Since then, the concern isn’t so much about Pronger’s struggles on the ice, but his health off the ice and his general well-being, hockey career aside.

Holmgren has no plans to replace Pronger as captain, noting the veteran leadership he has with Kimmo Timonen, Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr.

“They’re good role models for our young players,” said the general manager. “In that regard, that’s probably the way I’m leaning right now.”

He also noted that the Flyers don’t have any immediate plans to make a trade. He said he definitely doesn’t anticipate anything happening before midnight Friday night, when the NHL’s holiday roster freeze takes effect until Dec. 27. But he did leave the door open to a move before the trade deadline on Feb. 27.

“Obviously if we have the chance to improve our hockey team both now and for the future, we’re probably looking at a lot of different things,” said Holmgren, “but I don’t think I made 29 phone calls since today or yesterday when I got this news.”

So far, the Flyers haven’t had any trouble surviving without their captain. They’re in the midst of a seven-game winning streak and sit atop the Eastern Conference. But there is still a lingering fear about Pronger and his future, both on and off the ice.

Chris Pronger’s Season Is Over

15 Dec

Thursday night marks the 17th game Chris Pronger has missed this season. That total will grow much, much longer. The Flyers’ captain traveled to Pittsburgh to meet with neurologists Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins on Wednesday and the news was not good.

“After consultation with respected concussion specialists Dr. Joseph Maroon and Dr. Micky Collins, it is the opinion of both doctors that Chris is suffering from severe post-concussion syndrome,” said general manager Paul Holmgren. “It is the recommendation of doctors Maroon and Collins that Chris not return for the remainder of the 2011-12 season or playoffs. Chris will continue to receive treatment and therapy with the hope that he can get better.”

Pronger called last season the “year from hell,” but this has clearly become another circle of inferno for him. He has missed time with an eye injury, knee injury and now severe post-concussion symptoms.

There is speculation that the 37-year-old defenseman’s career may be over after this news and it’s easy to see why. With the Flyers alone, Keith Primeau, Ian Laperriere and Eric Lindros all serve as examples of what can happen with head trauma.

Pronger is in the second year of a seven-year, $34.45 million deal with the Flyers. He won’t officially retire until 2017 when that contract retires, but the fact that he also might not play over the next five seasons is a scary thought.

In the short term, the Flyers have done well to cope. In the long term, their top four defensemen could be burned out down the stretch, heading into the postseason that Pronger will apparently not be able to participate in. They’ve won games without him this season largely because of their depth.

“All teams want to have that,” said Jody Shelley on Tuesday. “All teams wonder what happens when you’re down, what happens when things are bad, what happens when guys are missing. We haven’t spent any time talking or thinking about it as far as Pronger and now [Claude Giroux] and things like that. That’s just a test of our system and our young energy, I guess. It’s almost like an ignorance to even spend time looking at that. We just stay focused.”

The Flyers will have long-term injured reserve cap relief for as long as Pronger is out of the lineup, but it seems pretty clear that they need to find a way to get some relief on the blue line as well.

He would be really difficult to replace. In 1,167 career NHL games, Pronger has 157 goals and 541 assists. He has two Olympic gold medals, a Stanley Cup and a World Championship gold medal. He also won the Hart Trophy in 1999-2000 with the St. Louis Blues.

It’s tough to imagine, but the last game he played in, on Nov. 19, may have been the last in his career.

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.”

Chris Pronger Out Indefinitely

9 Dec

VOORHEES, N.J. — Well, it turns out Chris Pronger’s mystery virus might be what we all feared it was all along. According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Pronger, who recently underwent left knee surgery, will be out indefinitely with concussion-like symptoms.

“While Chris’ knee is improving, he has struggled with other issues that are concussion-like symptoms,” said Holmgren. “Chris will see Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins on Wednesday, Dec. 14th in Pittsburgh for further evaluation.”

Pronger sat out four games with a mystery “virus” that sounded like it could have been a concussion from afar, but he seemed to suggest otherwise with how he described his effects.

“We’re still trying to ascertain what’s going on,” said Pronger on Dec. 1 in a conference call with reporters. “Like I said, I’ve never felt like this before, so I don’t really know what’s going on.”

So was it even a virus to begin with?

“That’s a good question,” said Holmgren. “I don’t know that we’ll ever know that. We didn’t know what we were dealing with then and I’m not sure we know now. With concussion-like symptoms continue to persist and we’re just gonna get him checked.”

While “concussion-like symptoms” doesn’t absolutely translate into an actual concussion, reading between the lines says that this is serious. Both of the aforementioned doctors were used by Sidney Crosby for his concussions that kept him out of action from Jan. 6 to earlier this month.

“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 even though he said there were “concussion-like symptoms,” Holmgren is not ready to actually call it a concussion.

“I think over the last few days, he’s had some difficulties,” said Holmgren. “Fairly persistent headache, just a sluggish feeling, so we’re just trying to do the right thing here and get him checked out by the doctors in Pittsburgh and just see what we’re dealing with.

“We didn’t know what we were dealing with then and I’m not sure we know now. Concussion-like symptoms continue to persist and we’re just gonna get him checked.”

While the Flyers say “concussion-like symptoms,” the fact is that Pronger didn’t didn’t begin really feeling awful until earlier this week.

“This is going back before the first game he missed from what we said was a virus,” said Holmgren. “Most of this has just come up in the last two or three days where he’s just got these symptoms that seem like concussion-like symptoms so we’re gonna get him checked.”

The most pressing concern, of course, is Pronger’s health. Secondarily, it becomes a question whether the Flyers will make a move with Pronger’s future uncertain. But Holmgren doesn’t appear to be doing any extra holiday shopping.

“Well, we have seven defensemen right now that are healthy and we’re happy with their play,” said Holmgren. “Through the course of every other day, you’re talking with someone about what’s out there, but I like the way our team’s playing right now. I like the way the young kids have played on defense and I don’t feel the need to really rush into anything.”

They also won’t rush into anything with Pronger, who has now missed more games than he’s played in this season.

West Coast Swing Revives Power Play

4 Dec

What a difference a weekend can make. The Flyers have always struggled with consistency on the power play, but last season it was consistently bad. This season, it started out hot and then was mediocre. That is, until the Flyers headed out west where the temperature is hot and now so is their power play.

Entering the weekend, the power play was running at 17.6 percent on the season. That was the middle of the pack. But in November, the Flyers struggled on the power play. They were 7-for-54 on the month’s 12 games. That’s only 12.9 percent. That percentage is what Columbus runs at for the season and it ranks 24th in the league.

But this weekend was different. The Flyers are scorching hot in December. Going 5-for-12 on the weekend skyrocketed their power play to 20 percent for the season. They are now in the top five.

Adding to the surprise is that Chris Pronger, the key cog to the Flyers’ man advantage, is out of the lineup and will be for most, if not all, of December. The Flyers have rotated the puck, done some dirty work in front of the opponent’s crease and delivered.

The recent success hasn’t come against slouch teams, either. Both Anaheim and Phoenix are in the top 10 in penalty killing. The Flyers were 3-for-9 against Anaheim, which is ranked sixth in home penalty killing. Then, not 24 hours later, went 2-for-3 against Phoenix, which hadn’t allowed a power play goal at home in seven games.

Peter Laviolette has always said the Flyers would rather have their injured players in the lineup, especially on the man advantage. The power play was one area where the Flyers had especially struggled in Pronger’s absence. But this weekend has softened that blow to the blue line. Whether it’s the new power play combos with Brayden Schenn and Braydon Coburn running the point on one unit while Kimmo Timonen and Jakub Voracek run the other, or just a cycle of luck, the Flyers don’t have to worry about their power play these days.

They’ll still focus on it for a good portion of their practice, as they have all season long, but right now the Flyers want to continue to ride the hot power play into cold Buffalo on Wednesday.

Pronger Still Dealing With Effects Of Virus

1 Dec

It’s one thing to have knee surgery, know that an issue has been resolved and have a timeline and clear path to recovery. But Chris Pronger is also dealing with a “virus,” one he says that doctors haven’t been able to figure out yet. That, far more than his fifth documented surgery in 16 months, is scary.

“I just didn’t feel well. I don’t know what it was,” said Pronger in a conference call. “We said it was a virus, but I don’t know what it was. I never felt like that before, where I had headaches and nausea and all the rest of that stuff. I had a concussion test — did the baseline test and passed that. I’ve just never felt like this where you get lightheaded, you have headaches, you’re nauseous and it’s been a bit of a mystery as to what’s going on. I’ve done blood work and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

He used the past tense, but when further questioned, the 37-year-old admitted he’s still dealing with the effects of his mystery illness that has kept him off the ice since Nov. 19. Somehow, with this illness, he was still able to go under the knife for knee surgery.

“We’re still trying to ascertain what’s going on,” said Pronger. “Like I said, I’ve never felt like this before, so I don’t really know what’s going on.”

According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Pronger is feeling much better than he had been. Apparently, according to Pronger, well enough to begin rehab for his surgically repaired left knee on Friday. He had the same operation on his right knee in the offseason before last season. That kept him out of commission for about nine weeks. This time, the preliminary ballpark is four weeks.

“We just kind of gave a ballpark number, because we don’t really know,” said Pronger.

“There was a little bit more damage in the one a couple years ago. There was some pretty big chunks they took out. It was not as clean as this one was. The doctor was pretty pleased when he got in there to see what was involved.”

Pronger said that this most recent knee issue was something that he noticed weeks ago and eventually realized he couldn’t play through it.

“It’s gradually gotten worse since I had come back from the eye injury,” said Pronger. “When I stopped skating, as I started to work out it started to bother me. I do my daily workouts and try to do legs every other day and what not and it got to the point where I couldn’t do my leg workout, so I knew something was wrong.

“I don’t remember ever getting hit. I don’t remember ever catching it in a rut or doing anything. I’ve got a couple suspicions, but I don’t really know.”

The injuries are piling up for the 37-year-old who called last season “the year from hell.” He’s not quite ready to place the same label on this season, noting that his most recent stretch of bad luck is just a few fluky injuries.

“I get hit with a puck; I broke my foot. I get hit with a puck in the hand and I broke my hand. I get slashed in the face; I hurt my eye. I hurt my knee in the game against Boston in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This one, I don’t really know,” said Pronger. “The only one that was really perplexing was the back. I don’t know how or what happened there and probably never will.

“That’s just one of those things. You look at the number of injuries and it would seem to me that they’re kind of fluky. Three of them, I get hit with a puck or a stick. They’re everyday hockey occurrences. They could happen to anyone.”

Unfortunately, so could a mystery illness. And the fact that no one knows what Pronger’s is yet is more troubling than a few blocked shots and a high stick.