Pronger in attendance for first time, in a long time
For the first time in a long time, Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger was in attendance at Wells Fargo Center.
While it may have only been in the form of a spectator, the crowd gave the fallen captain a standing ovation when he was seen on the jumbotron during the first period of Saturday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens. It was the first time since the team’s November 17 game against the Phoenix Coyotes that the fans had seen Pronger in person.
Attending as a guest of Flyers chairman, Ed Snider, Pronger was seen sitting in the owner’s box alongside his children.
He looked a little different than many have normally grown accustomed to seeing him. Pronger had a full beard as well as a pair of glasses that were prescribed to him to help with his headaches.
Since officially being announced as done for the season on December 15 with post-concussion syndrome, Pronger has largely kept a low profile.
With the exception of one publicized visit to the practice facility a few months ago, his wife, Lauren, has largely represented Pronger in the public.
“He’s battling, he wants to be out there more than anybody,” she said to CSN Philly back in January. “It’s tough for all of us to watch him go through this, too.”
The only release that has come from Pronger himself was short and to the point.
“It is very, very tough right now,” Pronger said in a press release in January. “I don't feel well and it hurts so much not to be playing.”
Pronger last played on November 19 in a road game against the Winnipeg Jets. He recorded two points (both of which came on the power play) and played around 27 minutes.
Two days after the Jets game, Pronger was a late scratch in the Flyers game against the Hurricanes.
“We're not sure, it's some kind of a virus,” General manger Paul Holmgren said in his media availability prior to the game.
One week later, the virus turned into a knee injury, which required surgery.
“Gauging off of when I had my other knee done a couple of years ago, a month sounds about right,” he said at the time about when he should return. “But again, it may be three weeks, it may be six weeks, I don’t know. We just kind of gave a ballpark number because we don’t really know.”
Ultimately, the only thing that came a month later was terrible news and the end of his season.
Pronger’s presence at Wells Fargo on Saturday night was the perfect gift considering the organization was celebrating fan appreciation night.
In addition, it’s a good sign to see him out and in seemingly good health. At this point, there may be serious health concerns that could affect his daily life.
While every one would like to see him back in the lineup, his health is more important. Considering how depressed he seemed a few months ago, it was a joy to see him smiling.
UPDATE: During the third period of Saturday's game, Howard Eskin tweeted that Pronger will be visiting a neurologist in Pittsburgh this week.
That wasn't all; Eskin also insinuated that Pronger was more upbeat than he had been in months and that he was more optimistic about a return next season.
That of course shouldn't be confused with an actual return for next season.
Eskin concluded by stating that the doctor's appointment is a good sign for the first time in a while.
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