The Bruins’ fortunate injury situation marches on, while one of their closest competitors is dealing with replacing one of its biggest stars due to a health issue.
The Philadelphia Flyers, who host the Bruins in the battle of the top two teams in Eastern Conference Saturday, learned Thursday night that star defenseman and captain Chris Pronger will miss the remainder of the season and playoffs due to severe post-concussion syndrome.
One day later, the Bruins got through a practice with their captain Zdeno Chara seemingly making it through the entire session unscathed, as the Boston Globe reported from Ottawa. If Chara feels up to it Saturday, he might suit up against the Flyers. That would mean he’d have missed just two games with the knee injury he suffered in Columbus. Considering initial fears from most after watching Chara’s knee awkwardly bend just a week ago, a two-game absence really is a best-case scenario.
Meanwhile, the Flyers are now dealing with their worst-case scenario. To their credit, the Flyers have battled through the injury to Pronger, a concussion to Claude Giroux and assorted other injuries to key supporting players to soar to the top of the East on a seven-game winning streak. But one has to wonder how long they can keep it going. Over the course of the next two months before the trade deadline, the Flyers will undoubtedly be active in search of a replacement for Pronger. They can use his $4.9 million of cap space in that effort.
But any trade for a legitimate Pronger replacement — say one of Nashville’s stud defensemen or a Joni Pitkanen from Carolina — would make the Flyers poorer personnel-wise, if not this year then down the road. Any small-time replacements might come cheaper, but could turn out to be the Flyers’ version of Tomas Kaberle in Boston or Joe Corvo when he went to Washington.
Whatever the Bruins have done since the Marc Savard concussions to avoid serious injury, especially to their best players, they should keep doing it. Because health is yet another reason the Bruins just might be the class of the Eastern Conference.