The Philadelphia Flyers said Thursday that after meeting with two concussion specialists, it was recommended that their captain not play again in 2011-12.
"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," general manager Paul Holmgren said Thursday. "It is the recommendation of Drs. 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."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said on his radio show Thursday that the League "knows that concussions are a serious issue. We're doing our best to be very proactive in terms of diagnosis and treatment.
"Some of the things we've done, by to going all Plexi on the glass, we've softened the environment," he added. "By having the diagnosis and return to play protocols and baseline testing. By making players go to the quiet room so that there's not a risk of multiple concussions in a short period of time. The rule changes we've made – what Brendan Shanahan's doing on supplemental discipline – these are all things that we're doing to try and react and be proactive because it's something that's serious. It's important and people are working on it every day."
The players, who were not told about Pronger until after their 4-3 win at Montreal on Thursday, are prepared to move on without their captain -- and with seven straight wins, they seem to have adapted to his absence pretty well.
"We lose his leadership and a lot of little things that Chris brings to this team, but the rest of us just need to work harder," said center Maxime Talbot, who was with Pittsburgh last season when the Penguins played the second half of the season without Sidney Crosby due to a concussion. "I’m not saying players need to change their roles, we just need to work harder because we’re missing a big piece.
"We all have to give more. Last season, we lost Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh and guys came up from the American Hockey League and scored big goals for us. That’s what we need to do here."
Pronger played only 13 games this season, scoring a goal and adding 11 assists. He was out of the lineup for six games and 16 days after suffering an eye injury on Oct. 24 when he was hit in the face by the stick of Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski. He eventually rejoined the team and maintained his usual defensive role.
In a 6-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Nov. 19, Pronger actually played a season-high 26:41. In addition to his eye injury and concussion, Pronger also underwent arthroscopic surgery to clean out his left knee in the summer.
On Dec. 9, Holmgren told reporters that Pronger "has struggled with other issues that are concussion-like symptoms."
"I just didn't feel well, I didn't know what it was," Pronger said that day. "I never felt like that before with headaches and nausea, and that stuff. I had a concussion baseline test and passed that … I got lightheaded, had headaches, you're nauseous."