"Did anyone say I was 100 percent?" Pronger asked. "I don't think I've ever said I was 100 percent."
Pronger, 36, missed the first two games of the season, nursing the injury, but was back for the Flyers' home opener against Colorado.
Even though the situation is not ideal, Pronger is dealing with the injury as best he can. He was quick to acknowledge his game isn't where he wants it to be at this point.
But it's still early.
"I don't know where it was supposed to be at this point," Pronger said. "I think every day it's getting a little bit better and a little bit stronger. I'm skating, trying to move around more and trying to do a little bit more.
"Some days, I need to take maintenance days. It feels better some days than others."
Pronger was on the ice for the Blue Jackets' first goal in Monday's 2-1 loss to Columbus, when Chris Clark and Kyle Wilson both released shots from within 10 feet of Brian Boucher.
Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy, who handles the Flyers' defense, notices a difference in Pronger's game. McCarthy was also an assistant coach in Hartford for Pronger's rookie year in 1993-94.
"It doesn't matter who you are, if you miss training camp, it's tough to just step right into a season," McCarthy said. "He hasn't been able to train the way he's used to training. You take those two equations, and with any hockey player, it's going to be tough to play the way that you want."
Pronger averaged 21:36 in ice time through his first seven games, down about 5 1/2 minutes from his career average of 27 minutes per game. And it's not because the Flyers are trying to save him for the postseason or he wants to work 18 percent less.
"It's tough when you're an elite player like Prongs and you expect so much out of yourself," McCarthy said. "He can still be an effective player for us. But at the same time, he's been around long enough to know that a Chris Pronger at 80 percent is better than most players at 100 percent."
The Flyers honored the memory of Barry Ashbee last night, presenting his widow Donna, son Dan and daughter Heather with the banner of his retired number that hung in the Spectrum rafters since 1975.
Ashbee, who died of leukemia in 1977 at age 37, was the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.
"It's just a great recognition," Donna Ashbee said. "[The Spectrum] was a great building, filled with terrific memories. It's going to be a big hole when that building is gone."
Ashbee was forced to retire after only four seasons as a Flyer when he was struck in the eye with a puck in the 1974 playoffs against the Rangers. He was a second-team NHL All-Star the season the Flyers won their first Cup. Ashbee became an assistant coach and even helped coach the team from his hospital bed the day before he died.
The Barry Ashbee Trophy is awarded by the Flyers annually to the team's best defenseman.
"It's been a long-lasting relationship with our family and the Flyers," Donna Ashbee said. "Ed Snider has been over the top in keeping us in the Flyers circle and, of course, that's made it great for my kids growing up and now my grandkids. It does make you think, 'Wow, it's been a lot of years and there's been a lot of players.' He would be as proud as we are, I assume." *