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Holmgren trying to stay optimistic about Pronger

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren called himself "a glass is half full kind of guy," but admitted there's almost no chance defenseman Chris Pronger plays again this season.

It was announced Dec. 15 that Pronger would miss the rest of the season and playoffs due to major post-concussion syndrome. He originally was injured when he was struck in the eye by a stick Oct. 24, and while he returned two weeks later and played five games, he was removed from the lineup following a Nov. 19 game in Winnipeg and hasn't played since.

Pronger's wife, Lauren, said during an interview with Comcast SportsNet on Wednesday, "It's a tough go at home. We're going day-to-day right now -- good days, bad days. It's been a lot of trauma going on. We're just praying right now. He's battling. He wants to be out there more than anybody. It's tough for all of us to watch him go through this."

Holmgren said he's spoken to Pronger a number of times, and told reporters before tonight's game against the New York Islanders that Pronger is going through different procedures in an attempt to help him feel better.

"He was prescribed glasses, I think that's helped him a bit," said Holmgren. "He's doing some other stuff, some other treatment regiments. He's seeing the doctors again Feb. 1. We'll have a little better idea where we're at -- or maybe we won't, I don't know. We'll continue to monitor and hope for the best."

Holmgren had left the door open for Pronger to return this season, but said from what he's heard from Pronger, that doesn't seem feasible.

"I'm a glass is half full kind of guy," he said. "I don't know. We'll see. I would say the odds of that happening aren't very good."

Holmgren also commented on the chance of signing Jaromir Jagr to a contract extension in the near future. Jagr told reporters following the team's morning skate that he'd like to return to Philadelphia but wants to table those discussions until after the season.

"I don't want to talk about it because we've got 40 games to go and the playoffs," he said. "I just want to let it go. If I'm going to play good, I don't think it's going to be a problem (returning)."

Holmgren said he's spoken with Jagr and his agent, Petr Svoboda, about a new deal, and envisions speaking further.

"We've had some talks," said Holmgren. "I don't really want to comment any further on that right now. We've talked about it. We'd like to have him back, too. I made that public a little earlier. He was the one that was hesitant, let's see how it goes type of thing. I sat with Jaromir and Petr yesterday for a quite a while and talked to Petr again today. We'll see. No need to comment on it any further than that right now."

Holmgren also gave an update on the Flyers' other concussed player, forward James van Riemsdyk.

"He did a little better today," said Holmgren. "He worked out today and didn't have any effects."

The news wasn't as good for center Blair Betts, who has been on injured reserve all season due to a knee injury.

"I think it's safe to say he's not going to play this year," said Holmgren. "I don't think Blair is going to be able to play. I don't think he could pass a physical at this point. … He skated yesterday before our meeting and it didn't go very well. His one knee is not going very well, not responding."

Holmgren said the next step would be to try to find Betts another role in the organization.

"We'll meet again and see if there's some little area now we can get him involved in," said Holmgren. "I'm not sure what that is."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
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