Pronger talks of 'dark days'

Flyers' defenseman Chris Pronger. (Photo via @NHLFlyers)

Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger, whose career is probably over because of post-concussion symptoms, talked about battling depression and his "dark days" during a news conference Thursday at the Skate Zone in Voorhees.

The Flyers handed out a news release in which a concussion expert advised Pronger to no longer play hockey.

Pronger said he is not retiring, but that is probably because if he calls it quits, the Flyers won't get cap relief.

Pronger's last game was Nov. 19, 2011, when he was bothered by the lights and crowd noise in Winnipeg. On Oct. 24 of that year, he was hit by the stick of Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski.

Flyers winger Scott Hartnell called Pronger "one of the best defensemen to ever play the game. His presence on and off the ice and in the dressing room (is invaluable), leading by example and leading by his words. You can't put a price on it."

Pronger said he still gets headaches and his eyesight has been affected.

"You get agitated very quickly," he said. "When the symptoms start piling up, and you start getting a headache and it's loud in the house. There's bright lights, kids running around screaming, all that stuff. You are on edge as it is. You’re pissed off that you are not playing the game you love, that you can’t go do what you want to do every day. You are even more pissed off because you got a headache and it’s getting worse and worse...and you’re light-headed and dizzy, and your kid comes over and you snap.

"You’re not being the father you want to be. It changes your personality a little bit. I’ve gotten a little better with it. But I still get a grr on from time to time and gotta catch myself, take myself out of the room and make sure I’m a little better."

(more coming)

Read playing? It APPEARS Matt Read will be in the lineup tonight against Pittsburgh because Mike Knuble stayed on the ice with the extras during the morning skate. Either that, or the Flyers will dress seven defensemen.

Nick Grossmann took part in the morning skate and is likely to play. He suffered an apparent hip injury in New York Tuesday. Kurtis Foster, battling the aftereffects of the flu, might also dress.

Numbers. The Flyers and Penguins have averaged a combined eight goals in their last 15 meetings.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.