The last time we saw Chris Pronger, he was attending a regular-season game at the Wachovia Center with Ed Snider in a luxury suite on March 24th. I remember sitting at my favorite watering hole watching the game when Pronger’s image flashed across the screen and he waved to the crowd. Many feared that the wave was symbolic for goodbye that night.
Earlier this week, another eruption in the twitterverse (I am seeing a trend here lately) said that a large moving van was at the Pronger residence moving Chris and his family out and heading them off to St. Louis. Speculation ran rampant and led to rumors of Pronger’s retirement from hockey.
The speculation isn’t so outlandish, as Pronger’s career has been put in serious jeopardy because of post-concussion syndrome that he has been suffering from since at least November.
After taking an inadvertent stick to the eye on October 24th at the hands of Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovsky, Pronger missed several games. He returned briefly in November for 5 games before missing time with a “virus.” Pronger then underwent knee surgery and finally saw concussion specialists Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins in Pittsburgh on December 14th. It was at that point that Pronger was ruled out indefinitely.
Acting in response to the rumors, Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said that “There’s no truth to him retiring.”
Both Holmgren and team chairman Ed Snider have both said that Chris Pronger hopes to return to action next season, but no one knows whether or not that will be possible. According to Inquirer scribe Sam Carchidi, Holmgren said that Pronger is still experiencing headaches as a result of post-concussion syndrome.
Ultimately, it appears that the Prongers are headed to St. Louis to tend to an ill member of Pronger’s wife’s family. Ironically, it was in St. Louis that Pronger resurrected his troubled early career. After a DUI arrest and a bar fight, Pronger was traded from the Hartford Whalers for Brendan Shanahan what seems like a million years ago (17 years).
This is not to say that the day won’t come sometime, but for now, Chris Proger continues to hold out hope that he will again play the game he loves. And even if it is only a temporary respite, at least this fan still has some hope.