Chris Pronger hasn't said much since a concussion knocked him from the game in late 2011, but he recently sat down for a candid chat Sportsnet's Dan Murphy. Murphy has an in, having released Journeyman, a book on the adventures of Sean Pronger, over the summer. Now, a conversation with Chris has yielded a two-part interview, Wednesday and Thursday nights on Sportsnet.
Pronger doesn't come right out and say the word "retirement," at least in the snippets of the interview that have been provided thus far, but there are two major indications that the big blueliner is done.
The first is his eyesight. Like Manny Malhotra, the puck Pronger took to the eye has completely changed his peripheral vision. From Sportsnet:
Whatís happened was I had 30-year-old eyes. I got hit and the doctor told me I had 60-year-old eyes,Ē the former Hartford Whaler, St. Louis Blue, Edmonton Oiler, Anaheim Duck and Philadelphia Flyer tells Murphy. ďI donít have very good peripheral vision. That so-called sixth sense? I used to really have a good one. Now, I couldnít feel anybody cominí around a corner. My kids scare me all the time.
ďThat used to be what I was known for: knowing where everybody was; having a feel for who was around me. Now I donít have that.Ē
If this is the sort of thing that got Malhotra -- a player with no concussion history -- shut down in Vancouver, then Pronger, whose concussion history is substantial, really shouldn't be coming back. If his kids scare him, then NHL forecheckers absolutely should.
Which brings us to the second indication that Pronger's going to call it a career: he seems at peace with the idea. In the teaser for the interview, Pronger speaks about it with a certain degree of finality.
Here's the transcript, for the video-impaired:
ďEverybody wants to go out like a John Elway where he wins two Super Bowls and is able to retire on his own terms. Very, very few people get a chance to do that.
ďIím comfortable with where Iím at in the game and my place within the game, and what Iíve been able to accomplish. I donít have any regrets. I played the game to the best of my ability and the best I knew how."
I'll hazard a guess that his next words aren't and now I'll play it again! Pronger's back, baby!
It's true that Pronger shouldn't have any regrets. He may not be able to go out having just won a championship, but he's won more than his fair share of titles and medals. His contributions are never going to be questioned in these victories and his place as one of the game's best defencemen is a foregone conclusion.