Earlier today, we speculated that a seemingly successful morning skate meant that Chris Pronger might actually play in Game 5 against the Buffalo Sabres. As it turns out, that practice didn’t go as well as it first seemed, as CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio reports that Pronger won’t play tonight after all.
It was mentioned that Pronger was taking slap shots during the morning skate, but Panaccio reports that he was wincing with pain after some of them. That’s not a great sign that the defenseman would be able to play his normally dominant game. Panaccio writes that he’s still officially listed as day-to-day.
Considering his time off and far-from-full-strength condition, the team wasn’t going to have him play in his usual all-everything role anyway. Still, it must be a bit of a letdown that the Flyers will continue to play without Pronger and also must beat Buffalo without Jeff Carter.
Panaccio caught up with Matt Carle, Pronger’s most common defensive partner.
Pronger did take part in every aspect of the drills but as Matt Carle — his on-ice partner — said, the decision was going to likely come down to how much pain he had this morning and what he can tolerate.
If Pronger had played, it was going to be in a limited role.
“When he comes out there, you expect him to be the Hall of the Fame defenseman he is,” Carle said, admitting he had no idea what Pronger’s intentions were of playing. “You don’t think anything less of him. We have to see how he’s feeling. He’s the only one who can answer that.”
Tonight’s game is a pivotal one, so it’s not surprising that Pronger tried his best to come back. The Flyers cannot afford to have him try to play for a shift or two and then abruptly hang it up. They also cannot afford for him to hurt that hand in a longer term way, so this is just how it had to go.
It’s tough not to wonder if Pronger might not be back for the Flyers in this playoffs run, but you never know.