Pronger hits ice, eyes return to Flyers for camp

Chris Pronger hits ice in Voorhees.
Chris Pronger hits ice in Voorhees. (CURT HUDSON / FOR THE DAILY NEWS)
Posted: September 10, 2011

CHRIS PRONGER laced up his skates yesterday for the first time since April 30, which was when Pronger made a last-ditch effort with a wonky back and wrist to try and defeat the Bruins in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In April, that didn't work out so well.

Yesterday was a different story.

"It's been a while," Pronger said after the brisk skate, which did not include full equipment, at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J. "Having not skated and done anything in 4 1/2 months, you need to take it slowly and see how you feel day-by-day."

Pronger, set to turn 37 next month, was cleared by a doctor in St. Louis on Wednesday to resume skating after two offseason surgeries that brought his total number of operations to five over the last calendar year. Including three valiant postseason attempts, his 53 appearances last season were his fewest since 2002-03.

The Flyers are set to open rookie camp on Monday and veterans report to camp on Sept. 17. The preseason opener is on Sept. 20 in Toronto.

Pronger is not sure whether he will be ready for the season opener on Oct. 6 in Boston - and he definitely won't be ready for the start of training camp.

Pronger said he felt "pretty good out there," during the workout, which included slap shots ringing off the glass. Pronger said he was "a little surprised" how good he felt, adding that the real test is how his body reacts.

"I think I'll just see how I feel [today]," Pronger said. "The first time on the ice is when you feel good, but it's usually Days 3, 4 and 5 when you feel suspect.

"I'll probably wear my gear next time . . . and try and ramp things up from there."

Yesterday was an important step - er, stride - in the right direction. No exercise, which Pronger has done prudently throughout the summer, can match the intensity and strain of on-ice skating.

"It's different muscles," Pronger said. "It doesn't matter what you're doing, Stairmaster, bike, what have you. You use a lot of muscles that you don't normally use. It's completely different. In order to get in game shape, you've got to skate."


For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at www.philly.com/FrequentFlyers. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.

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