Better With Popcorn

Scary Night for Flyers Despite Win

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night by a score of 4-2.

Following unenthusiastic efforts in their two previous games, the team managed to snap an early season losing streak and win their first home game in nearly two weeks.

The game didn't start out as smoothly as it would end.

Toronto opened the scoring when Phil Kessel capitalized on an opportunistic bounce that came from a deflected shot from the point. With Philadelphia goaltender Sergei Bobrovosky out of position, Kessel was able to bury his ninth goal of the season.

But, in a few minutes the goal became a second thought in everyone’s mind.

During a Toronto attack, Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski attempted a shot from the left faceoff circle. During Grabovski’s follow through, the tip of his stick hit Flyers captain Chris Pronger in the face.

Pronger immediately collapsed to the ice and began writhing in pain. He was quickly escorted off the ice and would not return to the game.

Shortly after Pronger left the ice, former-Flyer Joffrey Lupul was called for a four-minute double minor for high-sticking.

The team capitalized on the ensuing power play when Jaromir Jagr scored his first goal as a Flyer. The play began on a beautiful outlet pass from Claude Giroux that split all four of the Maple Leafs defenders.

Following the goal, Jagr celebrated with his patented salute.

“In 15 years, no one has done it, so I thought it would be kind of nice to do it again,” he said.

The first period was a back-and-forth affair. The second was dominated by the Flyers.

Mid-way through the period, the Flyers began an aggressive attack on the Toronto goal. Wave after wave overwhelmed the reeling Maple Leafs defense.

Following a Toronto penalty, struggling forward Scott Hartnell gave the Flyers the lead. Daniel Briere started the play by wrapping around the visitor’s goal and sending a pass through the crease.

Hartnell finished by ramming it home.

"We had to get dirty tonight,” Hartnell said. “That's what you need to be successful.”

Hartnell and Jagr both added goals in the third ensuring a Philadelphia win.

Following the game, little attention was paid to the win or the stellar play of the two forwards.

All eyes were cast on the health of the fallen captain.

“I didn’t see it,” Jagr said. “Everyone thought it was the puck, but it wasn’t the puck, it was a stick.”

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren clarified the situation.

“Right now, he had a little bit of a cut just on the outside of his right eye,” he said. “The eye doctor checked him out thoroughly.”

As to what the future holds for Pronger?

“He’s basically going to be on bed rest for three days, and hopefully he’ll be fine within a couple weeks,” Holmgren said.

Holmgren explained that Pronger left the ice with blurred vision due to the amount of swelling around his eye. Once the swelling went down, Pronger was able to see more clearly.

At no time did Pronger lose total vision.

The captain was tended to by the team physician and did not have to visit a hospital or any outside facility.

The organization is cautiously optimistic about Pronger’s return.

“If everything goes ok and if the swelling goes down, he should start on some kind of an exercise program,” the GM said. “We’re hoping he’ll be able to rejoin the team within ten days to two weeks.”

Holmgren made sure to make it clear that the timetable does not include contact. All plans are based on skating. Not playing.

When the captain does return, Holmgren said that it would not be without protection.

“When Chris comes back, he’ll be wearing a visor.”


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John Saquella's picture

Very happy that Pronger was not more seriously hurt. Even ignoring the hockey aspects, Pronger's not an old man and he has a family. Just from the respect, the eye news is good.

Matthew Brigidi's picture

Very sobering indeed, John. I've never seen Pronger that scared before. He clearly thought he lost his eye. Puts things into perspective for sure

Kim Pollock's picture

Watching Pronger go down like that was scary. You never expect to hear a guy like that make those kinds of sounds. Wishing him a speedy recovery!

George Prax's picture

Love him or hate him, can't wish an eye injury on anyone. As a Habs fan I know this first hand with Koivu. Do you think this is something that could have been avoided if he was wearing a visor?

Kim Pollock's picture

It's hard to say, only because who knows if Grabovski's stick would have gone up under the visor. But at least he would have had more protection.

John Russo's picture

I don't think a visor would have helped. If you look at the angle, that stick would have gotten up under the visor easily.