August 13, 2010

Chris “Peg Leg” Pronger Looks to Rehabilitate Knee Following Painful Playoffs

There are two ways to look at Chris Pronger and the knee injury he sustained early in the Philadelphia Flyers’ series against the Boston Bruins this spring.

1) Negatively: It’s a bad break for the Flyers because Pronger won’t be ready for training camp and might not be 100% when the regular season starts.
2) Positively: Pronger played great in three playoff rounds despite his serious injury and was a candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy. Just imagine how good he’ll be next year when he’s healthy.

One need only watch the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final between the Flyers and the Chicago Blackhawks this year to understand Pronger’s dominance/skill. Other than game five, where he had a career-worst rating +/- -5, Pronger, along with his busted knee, was the best player out there.

Which just goes to show, hockey players are an entirely different breed of athlete than soccer players, swimmers and basketball players, etc.

I mean, just read what Pronger said in an interview with the NHL:
“A lot of times when you hurt your knee you walk different and you hurt your back or you hurt your other knee because you are loading that up more. It really is about your body becoming symmetrical again and you’re not over taxing any one part of your body.”

Pronger sounds like a physiotherapist on lips wrapped around a meth pipe. And just how many times has this guy played on one leg???

But the NHL is filled with Pronger’s brand of stoicism. Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara broke his finger against the Buffalo Sabres in late November. It was just the 22nd of 82 regular-season games and Clara went on to play the rest of the regular-season, broken finger and all. He finished with 44 points and a +/- rating of +19...and then played through the Bruins’ entire 13-game post-season.

Hockey players are more than capable of fighting through pain, bruises, and worse. Their typical response when asked why they remain in a game despite losing seven teeth thanks to a puck to the mouth is usually something along the lines of: The mouth (or whatever body part) is a long way from the heart.

Chara and Pronger personify the kind of toughness that makes players great. Clara will get healthy and will be 100% when it counts. Meaning right now, the Flyers are in prime position to win the 2011 Stanley Cup.

And with a slew of impressive roster moves made by general manager Paul Holmgren, the Flyers have made themselves serious contenders. They’ll find power in Pronger’s sacrifice and put themselves in good position come playoff time, making the Flyers the team to beat. Barring any injuries – or maybe not, given Pronger’s attitude- bet on the Flyers in the 2011 finals.