Pronger set to surprise?; No word on Captain

“I think he’s right on track for all he’s been through,” Paul Holmgren said on Chris Pronger. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

PRONGER SET TO SURPRISE? Holmgren, who is recovering in his own right after a scary bicycle accident on Labor Day, said Pronger is progressing steadily with his rehab. Pronger has twice skated in full equipment by himself.

“I think he is doing better than even he thought he would,” Holmgren said. “He’s pushed the envelope a little bit over the last few days, going on the ice and shooting the puck. I asked him the other day how far behind he is in terms of what he normally would have done, he said he probably would have skated a couple weeks ago.”

Does that mean Pronger, who turns 37 next month, could be ready for the start of the season on Oct. 6, despite not being cleared to lift weights well into August? Holmgren said Pronger has not had any setbacks.

“I think he’s right on track for all he’s been through,” Holmgren said. “I’m excited for him being ready at the start of the season and I think he is, too.”

It may be in the Flyers' best interest to let Pronger, the key cog in their deep defense corps, sit as long as possible. Remember: Pronger had offseason knee surgery last summer, missed the entire training camp and was ready to play after sitting for just two regular season games. It was the beginning of his most injury-riddled season since 2002-03.

HOLMGREN MUM ON 'C': On Monday, the New York Rangers named Ryan Callahan the 26th captain in their 85-year history.

The Flyers are working on deciding who will be the next to wear their ‘C’ when they open the season on Oct. 6 in Boston.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said on Tuesday that he has had initial discussions with coach Peter Laviolette about who should replace Mike Richards, who was traded on June 23 to Los Angeles, as the 18th captain in team history.

“I’ve had some talks with ‘Lavi’ about the direction,” Holmgren said. “I wouldn’t go any further than that. I don’t think we’re in any rush.”

Chris Pronger, who is rehabbing from his fifth surgery in the last calendar year, is thought to be the front-runner for the job. Pronger was the St. Louis Blues’ captain for 6 seasons and also replaced Scott Niedermayer as captain in Anaheim.

Danny Briere, one of the Flyers’ alternate captains in the past, was a co-captain with Chris Drury in Buffalo. Kimmo Timonen, another alternate captain, wore the ‘C’ in Nashville.

Jaromir Jagr was one of Callahan’s predecessors in New York (24th captain in Rangers history) and also held the same role previously in Pittsburgh and Avangard Omsk in Russia last season. I find it hard to believe that Jagr, a newcomer who has not yet arrived in Philadelphia, would be wearing a letter this season - especially since he is on a one-way contract.

No matter who has the ‘C’ emblazoned on his jersey on opening night, Briere, Pronger and Timonen figure to be the Flyers’ triumvirate of on-ice captains.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers

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