Pronger talks at Flyers' morning skate
VOORHEES, N.J. - Chris Pronger's sudden appearance at the Skate Zone today followed a two-part televised interview on Canadian cable outlet Sportsnet. That interview was conducted by reporter Dan Murphy, who also happened to be the co-author of a book written last year by Chris' older brother Sean Pronger.
But in his first interview with the Philadelphia media since a conference call Dec. 1, 2011, Chris Pronger didn't offer anything by way of promoting the book other than agree it's a good read.
"Did you read it?" he said with a bellow.
This was the end to a press conference that stretched nearly 40 minutes, and in that time Pronger was equal parts honest and sarcastic, jovial and sadly serious. In short, he was typical Chris Pronger.
Considering his appearance was accompanied by a press release in which University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion specialist Michael Collins makes it clear he's advised Pronger to never play hockey again, Pronger was asked if this was a retirement press conference:
"This doesn't look like that type of conference, so no," he said. "I'm presently trying to get healthy and work toward getting healthy. That’s where it's at."
On what he's dealing with symptom-wise:
"I've made improvements. I still have symptoms, I still get symptoms with loud noises and a lot of moving parts, bright lights, things like that. It's not to the level it was, but I still do get them. There's a lot of things that have gotten better. My eye is still troubling. It's not working properly. I don't have peripheral vision. I don't have a lot of the things I have that have worked well for me in the past. ... I keep having to get stronger and stronger glasses. I just got another new prescription."
More on symptoms:
"It's an awkward feeling. It's something where if you haven't experienced it before you don't understand what (the doctor) is talking about. But 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."
On how his family has dealt with him during this time:
“You get agitated very quickly. When the symptoms start piling up, you start getting a headache and it's loud in the house, there’s bright lights. Kids are running around screaming, all that stuff, you are on edge as it is. You’re pissed 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 pissed off because you got a headache and it’s getting worse and worse and your eyes and you’re lightheaded 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've got to catch myself, take myself out of the room and make sure I’m a little better."
Look for more on Pronger in the Friday print edition of the Daily Times.
As for other things from today's morning skate, the Flyers may have to dress seven defensemen due to health reasons.
All currently injured players - Matt Read, Andrej Meszaros, Nick Grossmann and Tye McGinn - all practiced with the club. Grossmann would not talk about his injury, which means he was told by management not to do so. He is believed to have a groin strain, but may try to play on it tonight.
The Flyers will have a sixth defenseman to spell time with Grossmann in seldom used Kurtis Foster. Unfortunately for him, he's been waiting for this after a bevy of healthy scratches - yet he's dealing with flu symptoms. Perhaps between the two of them, they can take minutes away from the healthy defenders.
Meszaros (shoulder) apparently will not play. He stayed out on the ice long after the regular guys left the ice. McGinn (orbital surgery) stayed out there with him. And so was Mike Knuble, which would indicate that he'd be a healthy scratch.
But if no one else was called up today, that only happens if Read would play.
As for Read, he's obviously close to returning early from his muscle tear, but says he is still getting pain when he shoots the puck. So why consider rushing back in to play?
"Why wouldn't I come back?" Read said. "This is my job. I love doing it. I'm not going to sit
on the sidelines watch my teammates go through battles and I can't be out there. It's frustrating. So I'm going to do the most I can to get back into the lineup."