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Pronger not ready to retire, but a comeback unlikely

Mar 7, 2013, 12:59 PM EST

Chris Pronger press conference

Chris Pronger seemed in good spirits as he joked with reporters today in Philadelphia, but his words belied his playful mood.

Mixed in among the jabs at the assembled media, the 38-year-old Flyers defenseman spoke of the “dark days” that accompanied his ongoing recovery from a concussion that’s kept him from playing hockey since late 2011.

And while he’s not ready to officially retire — “I don’t know if this is the end or not…time will tell” — the list of issues he still faces suggests a comeback is extremely unlikely.

Peripheral vision is a problem for Pronger. He keeps having to get stronger glasses. He gets lightheaded and dizzy. He has headaches. He can be irritable at home, particularly around his kids. He’s been depressed. Sometimes his cognitive skills are “suspect.” He can lose his train of thought. He can’t run or do “anything where I’ve got to move my body fast.” According to his doctor, he has “significant vulnerabilities…that may or may not go away.”

Safe to way, if “pretty much anything where there’s a lot going on” still presents challenges for Pronger, suiting up again for the Flyers isn’t a very realistic goal, especially at his age.

For now, Pronger is just “trying to get healthy” so he can “live a normal life.”

And he’s “still got a lot of work ahead of me.”

  1. davebabychreturns - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Hang em up Chris, jesus.

    (I mean don’t do it officially, keep collecting those paycheques.. that’s why you sign a long term deal after all.)

    Sounds like he’s still picking up the pieces and isn’t close to having a normal life outside of hockey. Hope that changes.

    • bcsteele - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      This article translated:

      “I’m retiring, however, to save the Flyers the cap hit I’m going to just quietly collect my checks and wait this out.”

      Either way, its a true shame. I loved watching him play alongside #2 in St. Louis all those years. Best wishes to you Chris and hopefully you can at least get back to a normal life.

      • rarelyshaves - Mar 8, 2013 at 1:00 AM

        personally I hope he rots into senility and forgets any semblance of false significance he once held

        couldn’t happen to a more deserving individual

        die slowly and painfully,
        we own you,
        sincerely,
        chicago

      • wingsdjy - Mar 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        @rarelyshaves

        Seriously, WTF? I’m not a fan of Pronger (mainly because he was a thorn in Detroit’s side), but he’s still a human being. What kind of d*ck tells an athlete to die slowly and painfully?

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      If this was gonna happen and if this was the plan the man upstairs laid out for Chris he could not be in better hands than with the Flyers organization ! The Flyers will be there for him !

  2. illadelphiasphinest - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    The beginning of the presser sure sounded like a retirement speech, but the lack of Homer, and Mr. Snider at the table with him kinda gave it away. So all in all he is not retiring and all that was, was an update on his progress. So it was pretty much pointless, besides letting the media ask him the same three questions just worded differently over n over.

  3. friedberg7 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    He is 38 years old with the vision of a 60 year old (he said it himself). And he doesn’t know if he is ready to retire? Come on Philly just buy him out already and let the poor guy retire.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:12 PM

      They can’t buy a player on the LTIR out. That’s what makes this so complicated and why Pronger can’t just retire. He’s doing what’s best for the club, just like a captain should.

      • friedberg7 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Then take him off the LTIR and immediately buy him out. He isn’t retiring so it doesn’t cost Philly 4 mil a year for the next four years. And wouldn’t be surprised if the league doesn’t put pressure on Philly to do something. It is a real shame what happened and let the guy move on with his life.

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        I’m pretty sure you have to pass a physical and be cleared to play to come off LTIR. And no doctor in their right mind would clear him. He’s stuck on LTIR, he can’t be bought out, and therefore he can’t retire.

      • friedberg7 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Looks like Philly got lucky then. Boston has to hope that Savard does the same

  4. withseidelinn - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Epic beard.

  5. ibieiniid - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    “He can be irritable at home, particularly around his kids. He’s been depressed.” this part really concerns me. thinking Rypien and Boogaard. good luck Prongs

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 8, 2013 at 9:46 AM

      I’m not sure being irritated by your kids qualifies as something out of the ordinary.

  6. phillyphanatic77 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    It was awesome to see him in such great spirits, but disheartening to hear him basically close the door on a comeback. Although we all knew it anyway. Even if his symptoms go away his eye will never improve. Just a terrible way to end a hall of fame career. One of things I miss most is his treatment of that joke of a beat writer Tim Panaccio, and he certainly did that today. Definitely made me smile. Best of luck #20.

  7. mclovinhockey - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Get well pronger

  8. ndrick731 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    You have to be placed on LTIR each year.
    A player that is injured cannot be bought out. That’s why the Rangers were going to let Redden sit at home all season and the Canadians were also sending home Gomez.

  9. johnstone17 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Sad to see someone that has been a warrior in the league living with all the lingering doubts about his health & his future. Best of luck Chris in whatever decision you make.

  10. whiskytango333 - Mar 7, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Never a fan of Pronger, but I absolutely wish him a full recovery. I hope that research continues on concussions and treatments can be produced to better manage the long term symptoms. Most guys play professional sports for only 10-15 years at the max and then they have a whole life ahead of them. For the entertainment they provide us during their very short careers, we (as a socitey) should at least do all we can to make sure they have a good quality of life after they hang up the skates.

  11. chanceoffleury1 - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    I know as a Pens fan I’m supposed to hate the guy, but watching this just makes my heart sink. The whole situation is just so sad, and his talent level only makes even more devastating. I just hope that he can get better enough to the point where it’s not affecting his real life as much. The fact it’s totally affecting his quality of life, and impairing him from doing/being around the things he loves (his kids, hockey, etc.) is just tragic and something that nobody deserves. It’s really a seriously scary situation.

  12. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Hasn’t Pronger always been irritable?

  13. pavelfitzgerald - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I can’t help but wonder if this is Karma rearing it’s ugly head.
    Pronger has been a dirty player who has thrown more then his fair share of questionable hits. He’s also the guy who demanded a trade out of Edmonto after he got caught banging the local TV reporter because his wife wanted out. This is a serious issue & it’s awful for anyone but it makes you wonder.
    For all those who say he’s doing this “for the club” let’s not forget he’s still collecting 4.55 mil a year at home. Let’s not anoint him as a Saint

    • brainoflindros - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      You’re an @ss.

  14. redwings1977 - Mar 7, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    I think I hate this guy more than Claude Lemieux. Remember when Pronger nearly died on the ice at the Joe? That was awesome.

    • johnstone17 - Mar 7, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Pathetic

  15. mungman69 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything.

  16. kvanhorn87 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I am always irritable around my kids.

  17. 5hole26 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    yawn… when is this guy going to go away. enough is enough already

    • ml3939 - Mar 7, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      I believe the world would be better served if you went away first.

      • bobhpine - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:43 PM

        good one…I think you got him

      • ml3939 - Mar 8, 2013 at 12:51 AM

        bobpiningforattention again. So says the guy who thinks drinking wine elevates his status. Shouldn’t you be deciding which skinny jeans to wear or figuring out which sweaters look good on your poodles?

  18. 5hole26 - Mar 7, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    yea the flyers are a stand up class act organization.. lol

  19. greenmtnboy31 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    When you consider the dirty style of play he was known for, one has to wonder how much of this is karma coming back on him. He is one of only three players to be suspended during the Cup finals. He was suspended eight times for a total of 22 games. Has any other player been suspended eight times? Not even Matt Cooke. If you live by the sword, apparently you retire on the vine, by the sword. I hope he recovers and gets his personal life in order, but the game of hockey and the NHL don’t need him and won’t miss him.

    • eggserino - Mar 7, 2013 at 8:25 PM

      He’s also one of the few players in NHL history to win a Norris and a Hart trophy in the same year. I watched Pronger for many years in St. Louis. Part of the reason he was such a dirty player is that players were constantly running him, MacInnis, et al on his teams. He learned early in his career to get his stick up when guys were head hunting, on plays that would be boarding calls in today’s NHL.

      This is also the same man who had part of his arm bone sawed off to relieve pressure on his wrist so that he could continue to play hockey. That’s how much he cared about the game.

      Because he chose to play to protect himself, his teammates, and gain a mental advantage, he’s dirty. He’s a huge guy! He didn’t want to fight regularly. What’s he supposed to do?!

      • williplett - Mar 7, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        The last of his eight suspensions came for this incredibly dangerous play. He will be remembered as a great player, but also as a dirty player. Nothing justifies the cheapshots and dirty plays he dished out. It goes way beyond getting his stick up when guys tried to run him. Remember, his fellow NHL players voted him the dirtiest player in the game in a 2009 SI poll(tied with Steve Ott).

      • 19wasthebest - Mar 7, 2013 at 11:32 PM

        He was not dirty trying to protect himself. He had no respect for his opponent. I can not stand the man but hope he gets better. If you think he was protecting himself when he tried to take Yzerman out and totally screwed up himself when Steve Y. caught him instead because he seen it coming you are crazy. He did not care who you were. He was the dirtiest player in the NHL for a very long time.

      • greenmtnboy31 - Mar 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        That is, quite probably, the dumbest, most lame statement I’ve read on here. “Because he chose to play to protect himself, his teammates, and gain a mental advantage, he’s dirty.”????????

        You’ve acknowledged he’s dirty, but how does that explain the cheapshots he dished out on guys? You gain a mental advantage by beating your man fair & square; when you’re dirty or a cheat, you lose the mental advantage because now you’ve essentially admitted you can’t beat your man without being cheap and/or dirty.

  20. 5hole26 - Mar 7, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    well said greenman. no place in the game for him

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