It’s easy to think that a player will miss a game because of how painful an injury might be. Yet in many cases, it’s all about how much an injury will hamper a player rather than how much it hurts.
After all, there’s a good chance that Martin St. Louis dealt with (or is dealing with) a greater amount of concentrated agony than Chris Pronger is fighting through right now. The difference is that St. Louis can still see, skate and shoot at the same basic level with some missing choppers while Pronger’s injury impairs one of his greatest assets: his rocket launcher shot.
That hand injury will sideline Pronger until at least Game 3 of the Buffalo Sabres-Philadelphia Flyers series, according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly.
This decision came after a team skate in which Pronger spent 51 minutes doing some light skating and passing, but never took a hard shot. Such a workout reveals that his hand is still far from 100 percent, making it natural to wonder if he’ll be able to play a single game in this series.
If you’re wondering why people are following his status so closely, the answer is simple: few – if any – NHL defensemen impact playoff games as much as Pronger. He’s an adept decision maker, puck mover and leader, but he makes his money by intimidating the opposition. Zdeno Chara might be a bigger player, but Pronger uses his still-impressive size with arguably the most mean-spirited style in all of the league.
Defense and goaltending weren’t Philadelphia’s biggest issues in Game 1, but there’s no doubt that the team could use Pronger anyway, especially considering how effective his shot can be from the power play point.
We’ll let you know if Pronger can suit up for Philly once this series shifts to Buffalo, a proposition that is far from a sure thing at this point.