But, even the slimmest glimmer of hope is enough for some people – including Flyers coach Peter Laviolette as well as Pronger himself.
Let’s start with Pronger who spoke publicly Thursday in the Philadelphia market for the first time since December 1, 2011. Pronger bared his soul about the emotional battles he’s had to fight as a result of the post concussion symptoms he’s had and the after effects of a scary eye injury suffered when Mikael Grabovski caught him with the blade of his stick on a follow through of a shot on Oct. 24, 2011.
Pronger said that the injury and the after-effects of it have been very debilitating and have stopped him from doing almost everything that he has done – as if by rote – since he was 15 years old.
Pronger also had a press release from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center handed out to reporters in which the specialist treating him – Dr. Michael “Mickey” Collins – has advised that he no longer play the sport of hockey.
And while putting two-and-two together that all might suggest that adding up to four is equal to a retirement announcement, Pronger wouldn’t go that far.
“That’s not why I’m here today,” he said. ““I’m just trying to get healthy and live a normal life and get better for myself and my family. The rest will take care of itself.”
He’s not ready to let it go. He added that one day he could wake up and all the symptoms will be gone. But that hasn’t happened yet.
Instead his limited to light exercising and weight-lifting and watching his diet. Nothing else.
He can’t run, because it brings on symptoms. He can’t skate with any authority, because it brings on symptoms.
And then there’s his loss of peripheral vision. It’s completely unnerved him.
So much so that Pronger found himself in some dark places during his recovery.
“You get agitated very quickly,” he said. “When the symptoms start piling up and you start getting a headache and it’s loud in the house, there’s bright lights, kids running around screaming, all that stuff, you are on edge as it is.
“You’re [ticked] off that you are not playing the game you love, that you can’t go do what you want to do every day. Then you are even more [ticked] off because you got a headache and it’s getting worse and worse in your eyes and you’re light-headed and dizzy and your kid comes over and you snap...
“You’re not being the father you want to be. It changes your personality a little bit. I’ve gotten a little better with it. But I still get a ‘Grrr’ on from time to time and I got to catch myself, take myself out of the room and make sure I’m a little better.
“It can be debilitating. I guess the biggest part is the depression. How you feel about yourself. How you feel about the injury and how dark you go down.”
The entire interview is compelling. It ranges from comedic to dramatic and everywhere in between.
Watch it here in four parts:
As for Laviolette, he is a bit superstitious. In his office at the Flyers practice facility He has a magnetized board where each little magnet has the name of a Flyers player.
He uses it to play with possible line combinations and defensive pairings and to help design schematics for game plans.
One name still sits there – Chris Pronger.
“His name still sits there on the lower end of my board under the ‘injured’ label,” Laviolette said. “I’d certainly rather have him on there in the top six somewhere contributing, but that just isn’t the case right now.”
And it probably never will be again. But Pronger and Laviolette aren’t ready to say that just yet.
Flyers analyst Steve Coates went on WIP radio Thursday afternoon and reported that both Matt Read and Nick Grossmann would play tonight against the Penguins.
Grossmann suffered a lower body injury in the first period Tuesday in New York and didn’t return, however he skated Thursday and will play through his injury tonight.
Read is a miracle of modern science. Diagnosed with torn muscles in his ribs, he was initially given a six-week recovery period.
Playing tonight, he has returned in two weeks.
With Read back, Mike Knuble will again be a healthy scratch for the Flyers.
Andrej Meszaros, who, like Read and Grossmann was also considered day-to-day yesterday, will not play tonight as he continues to rehab from a dislocated left shoulder.
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