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Columnist: There might be glimmer of hope for Pronger return

Dec 16, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT

prongerrichardsref Getty Images

Amidst the doom and gloom surrounding the Flyers today, CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio thinks he might’ve found a silver lining: Chris Pronger might not definitely be done for the year.

Sure, the Flyers have said that Pronger’s season is over. And sure, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren admitted his captain’s career might be in jeopardy.

But when asked about Pronger potentially returning months down the road — assuming his post-concussion symptoms had cleared — Holmgren left the door open.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said. “I think right now, Chris is not an option. If he gets better somewhere over the next month, months, we’ll address that when we get there.”

Panaccio then went on to explain…

If you think about it, by announcing that Pronger is done for this year, including playoffs, the Flyers have removed “uncertainty” from the dressing room. He’s gone, he’s not coming back, the team moves forward.

This is in contrast to how the Penguins handled Sidney Crosby last season, never saying he was done, allowing their players to believe he might return. Crosby even practiced with the club during the playoffs.

Panaccio also noted Holmgren couldn’t explain why the Flyers ruled Pronger out for the playoffs, even though the postseason doesn’t begin until April.

“That’s a good question,” Holmgren said. “I don’t know. I guess just the way he’s felt since we believe what was the original injury, maybe years of playing in the NHL. I can’t answer that.”

Another intriguing development is the organization not naming a replacement captain. Holmgren said his veteran leadership group (including Daniel Briere and Kimmo Timonen) would fill the void, but some feel it’s another sign the door’s being left open for Pronger to return.

  1. govtminion - Dec 16, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Concussions are such a weird thing. He could wake up tomorrow and feel perfectly fine, have that continue for a few days, then suddenly on day five or so get vertigo or splitting headaches and be miserable again. That pattern might never really end. Or he might wake up and feel fine, and it never really bothers him again. It’s probably the single most difficult injury to predict.

    My money though is that this, combined with his age, is going to be the last we see of Chris Pronger as an NHL player. And I really hate typing that, because as much as I dislike him, I can’t imagine the NHL without him.

  2. skimmer0220 - Dec 19, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Very interesting that they wont name a new captain, think Timonen should be named captain, even over Pronger but that’s a huge move if your not expecting him back

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