"....I feel great. Just finished a workout," Pronger said earlier today in a press conference.
That's right, Chris Pronger just got surgery on his hand and finished a workout today. I've had many surgeries in my lifetime because for some reason God's built me like a stack of JENGA blocks. But I'll say this....each time I came home from either minor or major surgery I could barely carry myself to the bathroom let alone workout.
No one questions Pronger's toughness. In fact, just saying Pronger is "tough" is an understatement. Sort of like saying fire's hot, water is damp, or Courtney Love is a kind of disgusting.
But when asked if he'd be ready come Playoffs, the star defenceman replied, "That's the way it looks right now".
Pronger hopes to return prior to the regular season ending so that he can get in a few games before the post season begins. He's mentioned how tough it is to sit out and not be part of the action and emotion, and I completely understand that. Especially considering Chris' leadership role on this squad. And quite frankly, recently this team needs its keystone leadership.
Although our defensive roster's deeper than Charlie Sheen's medicine cabinet, Pronger is without a doubt a very important piece to the Flyers successful puzzle. His usage is spread in all areas of the game including his presense at the points in our power play. Though our PP hasn't been what you'd call....good (in fact it's pitiful) "Prongs" still influences its effectiveness.
So who's going to fill his shoes? Pronger's been scratched due to injury before. This is not new territory. But now this gives Erik Gustafsson a shot to prove his role. My prediction is that Andrej Meszaros will be used much more on the power play now that Pronger's light speed slap shot's out of the picture.
Now, (according to CSN Philly) if Pronger sits the full 4-weeks he was projected to miss then that would mean he'd be back April 5th. At that point, the Flyers would have three more regular season match ups versus the Senators, Sabres, and Islanders.
Counting tonight's tilt against the Thrashers, our Bullies have thirteen games left before the Playoffs get under way. In that margin the Flyers match up against teams like the Devils, Penguins, Capitals, Bruins, and Rangers....all without #20 in our lineup.
If you think about it, the margin for defensive error is non-existent against incredibly tough teams like those I just listed. Three of which are battling for the #1 spot in the Eastern Conference Standings, and the Penguins - who we play twice more - are a possible threat to bump our boys down to the #4 seed.
So what I'm saying is...Pronger's injury could not come at a worser time. The injury bug makes its nest in every team's locker room, but right now the Flyers cannot afford to play less than what they're capable of with so many clubs nipping at their heels.