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Pronger discusses future in interview

Mar 6, 2013, 1:24 AM EDT

Chris Pronger Getty Images

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger has addressed the future in his lengthiest interview since being diagnosed with a concussion.

Pronger spoke with Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy for a two-part series covering the 38-year-old’s health, post-concussion recovery and whether or not he’ll ever return to the NHL.

The interview will air on Wednesday and Thursday.

The former Flyers captain’s health issues began on Oct. 24, when he took a high-stick to the face while playing against Toronto.

Pronger temporarily lost vision in his right eye and was immediately put on medication to help relieve the pressure build-up, missing six games in the process.

He returned on Nov. 9 and went on to play five games, before exiting the lineup again on Nov. 19 against Winnipeg.

This time, though, there would be no return — weeks passed before Pronger was officially diagnosed with a concussion and shut down for the season.

In mid-December, he met with renowned concussion experts (Drs. Mickey Collins and Joe Maroon) at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which began a long and arduous recovery process.

In Sept. 2012, he was reportedly still dealing with concussion issues, including headaches.

Pronger is currently on Long Term Injury Reserve, meaning his $4.94 million cap hit is off Philadelphia’s books. Because he signed his deal over the age of 35, retiring would mean the Flyers would be on the hook (cap-wise) for the entirety of the seven-year, $34.55 million deal signed in 2010.

That deal is set to expire at the end of the 2016-17 season.

  1. jhuck92 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:33 AM

    Pronger is the poster child for bad karma. All those years of playing dirty is finally catching up to him.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:23 AM

      And that would make you the poster idiot for being an douche ,,,,all those years of being a dbag has caught up to you !

      • jhuck92 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:38 AM

        You can thumbs down and call me a douche all you want. You know I’m right.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:29 AM

      cant believe im agreeing with iggles here

    • georgenhofer - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      By jhuck92’s logic, karma will soon be drowning him in vinegar and water.

  2. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:35 AM

    I would kill to have Pronger back in the Flyers lineup this season. It would completely balance the top-6, and our D corps would be considered a strength instead of a weakness. The Flyers have thus far been unable to replace his presence on the PP and the PK (and 5-on-5, for that matter), and there doesn’t appear to be any solution on the horizon. Shea Weber is one of the few players in the NHL who could’ve replaced Pronger without a drop-off. I’m hoping for a miraculous recovery and return to the orange and black, but I know I’m fooling myself. He’s done (99.9% sure). Damn Post-Concussion Syndrome. But hopefully he can atleast be alleviated of symptoms and live a normal life outside of hockey.

    • budvw14 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:52 AM

      They rank 6th in the league on the PP and 8th on the PK. Not exactly considered struggling. Def missing him defensively 5-5.

      • ml3939 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:02 AM

        They are missing him on the PP and PK too. He quarter backed the PP. Now it runs through Giroux and Voracek as they are highly dependent on their first unit. They don’t have his shot from the point as a threat which causes them to overpass trying to create mismatches. He also had great vision and really excelled at hitting long breakout passes. He was an enormous presence on the PK just based on his size and skill set. Had he been on the team, they would not be digging themselves out of the early season hole that is still haunting them.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        Yes they’ve been good of late on the PP but it’s only the first unit. The second unit is relatively inept. If Pronger was there then they could have Timonen anchoring the 2nd unit, instead Erik “Here’s the Puck” Gustafsson. As for the PK, they’ve been hot lately but for most part they’re hanging on by a thread. Here’s another area where his presence would allow Kimmo to move to the 2nd unit. And Pronger is a crease clearing force, which they obviously don’t have. 5-on-5, we all know the difference he’d make. Just an irreplaceable loss.

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:55 AM

      Hedman would be my first pick even over Weber (and I’m even more impressed this year than last with him) – but impossible to pry away from TB.

      Is anyone else surprised that he’s talking publicly about ANY of this? I think everyone is well aware what his future will be, unless I’m missing something…but a public interview isn’t conducive to riding things out on IR for 3 more years.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        No question Hedman is developing into a top-notch player this season. He skates exceptionally well for a big man. But, despite being Prongers size, he’s just not the same physical force. Weber is way more comparable to Prongs. He’s a crease clearer with a cannon shot. I’d say it’d be more realistic for Nashville to trade Weber to Philly (when he’s eligible) than Tampa giving Hedman to someone else.

    • ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:04 AM

      but seriously. do you know a way to kill so we can have him back in the lineup?

  3. areyesrn - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    Flyers could use him right now

  4. 5hole26 - Mar 6, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    hang up the skates lindros

  5. csilojohnson - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:01 AM

    I get what you were trying to achieve eiggles. Just doesn’t work in they context. Just sounds immature.

  6. spavs412 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Sucks to see this happen. You would think having an issue like this in Philly would change the way they speak ill on Sid but you still hear/read all of the comment board dumb comments about Sid. I loved pronger in st Louis and as an oiler. Hope you can live a somewhat normal life Prongs and feel better.
    Signed,
    A pens fan

    • budvw14 - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:54 AM

      Cue ignorant Sid comment in 3….2….1….

      • ibieiniid - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:08 AM

        i wish Sid would do his best impression of B. Richards and dive himself out of the league.

        …thought i’d humor you. gave you a 2-for-1 on ignorant comments there.

      • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:26 AM

        Well, if he did leave the league right now, he’d definitely be going out on top…

  7. broadstbully33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    Herman is no where near the level of weber. Wow just wow. Hedman has potential but still needs some years to even be a number 1. He is at best a number 3 right now

    • hockeywithdrawal - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      Disagree completely – last year, yes – I’d agree with you. This year Hedman seems to have turned a corner – if I’m rebuilding a defense this year, I’m going with Hedman, and he’s getting the ‘C’.

  8. 5hole26 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:16 AM

    pronger = scrambled eggs

    • valoisvipers - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      5hole26 or is it ahole#1 Want pitiful comment you made, you are a sore excuse of a human being.

  9. broadstbully33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    I like hedman he is going to be a great d man in 3 years he is no where near a num 1 now and and doesn’t have a defensive core around him to help him learn and grow. He had improved there is no denying that but to say u would build your core around him is ludicris. Karlsson weber let ang doughty edler yandle OEK, would all go before hedman. Hedman and Myers are in the same boat. They need seasoning an without a true mentor on their team it will take longer.

  10. broadstbully33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    And withdrawl not that it’s relevant but my NHL 13 first defensive unit is hedman and Myers. Just for size and poke check range lol so I see where your coming from lol

  11. valoisvipers - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    You just can not replace a guy like Pronger. His size, grit,meanness, both offensive and defensive abilities. I sure wouldn’t want him screaming at me with his flared nostrils on the bench or in the dressing room. The dude was serious about winning and made sure everyone around him was as well.eg Richards and Carter being moved.
    I really hope that if he can not ever play again that he can at least live a long healthy symptom free life and I thank him for the many years of his playing the game the way it should be played.

  12. broadstbully33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    The closest player to pronger would be weber and that’s why Philly handcuffed Nashville for him. Chara is up there to but I’d take a 27 year old dman over a 35 dman anyway

  13. dcbear90 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I’m a Blues fan and I still miss him. He was a force on the ice every night whether it was the PP, PK or 5 on 5.

  14. malkinrulez - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Pronger played the game the right way. It is a shame if he never plays again. While I hated watching the Pens have to deal with him I loved watching him play. Get well Prongs

  15. dprouse - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    I never liked Pronger much either – I didn’t like his game, and his off-ice act always rubbed me the wrong way. Having said that, this is pro hockey, and the sport we love can be brutal at times. Regardless of whether you played competitive sports, or are just a fan, every one of us have had guys on our teams who weren’t exactly Mother Teresa. Pronger has a family, and I wouldn’t wish that awful post-concussion experience on anyone. I hope he has a full recovery, so that he and his family can have a normal life.

    From everything we read, I don’t think he will ever be cleared to play again. The Flyers know this, but will keep up the charade of hoping for a comeback in order to avoid the cap hit of formal retirement.

  16. mclovinhockey - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:10 AM

    @spavs, you gotta understand, every team has those fans who are just too immature and ruin the name for the rest of the fan base, most of the time it’s a 10 year old hiding behind a keyboard. When Pacioretty broke his neck on Charas late hit, I went on the Boston page to see what people were saying. I thought I would see people saying hope he is okay but I saw B’s fans saying “Chara should have hit him harder so he would have died”, and “hope that guy never walks again” an my favourite “everyone from Canada should be raped and killed”
    That was the worst thing I have ever seen a fan say, but do I think all bruins fans are classless jokes? No, I saw similar posts from pens fans about giroux on here.

    Don’t just pretend one fan base makes immature comments when every team has fans like it.

  17. mancave001 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    spavs412:

    The reason we hate on Sid has nothing to do with his concussion issues. It’s that he’s a crybaby d-bag who is the golden boy of the NHL. The same applies to your Pens. The amount of favoritism for your team is borders on the absurd. Go watch the officiating in the playoffs and the way the NHL media promoted Sid and the Pens. It’s sickening.

    • pensfan1970 - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:09 PM

      spavs,

      I’ll give you that the promoting of Sid and the Pens gets to be ridiculous, but the league is just being smart, marketing-wise. Whether you love or hate a team/player, you’re probably going to watch their games to see them win or get beat. All leagues do similar things. (Yankees/Cowboys/Lakers) Crosby just happened to come into the league with a lot of hype from his junior league play. The NHL latched onto him as their next big star to promote, and never backed away from it. The fact that he plays for the Pens means that they get promoted right along with him. So what? It happens.

      As far as officiating in the playoffs goes….in last year’s Flyers/Pens series, I count 37 penaties for the Pens, and 43 penalties for the Flyers for the full 6 games. (not counting misconduct penalties). That’s 6 more penalties for the series against the Flyers. An average of 1 more per game. That’s hardly preferential treatment towards the Penguins. Every team thinks they’re getting the short end of the stick on penalties, but in the end, the referees ususally try to even things out.

    • itripledogdareyou - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      mancave – That’s a cop out. Not liking a player because of his behavior or because he’s promoted too much by the league is one thing. There are a lot of fans who openly wish for Crosby’s career to be cut short from injury. Many of them also infer he’s weak because he was injured for so long with a concussion. Does any of them think Pronger is weak because of his injury? Hell no. Why the double-standard?

  18. 5hole26 - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    you should be sending a letter to crosby thanking him for making highlight reel plays night in and night out. everyone is so jealous that pittsburgh has him its disgusting. he leads the league in points for a reason. hes the best player in the league hands down

  19. President Charles Logan - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Pronger’s skills began to deteriorate in those last 4 games of the SC Finals vs the Blackhawks a few years back…Dustin Byfuglien owned him and he never was the same player the year after .

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