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NHL GAME OF THE DAY

Flyers star Chris Pronger hit in the eye by stick

Pronger will miss two to three weeks and spend the next few days on bed rest after being inadvertently hit by Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski during the Flyers' 4-2 win.

October 24, 2011
  • Flyers captain Chris Pronger heads for the locker room after getting struck in the face with a stick during the first period Monday night in Philadelphia.
Flyers captain Chris Pronger heads for the locker room after getting struck… (Tom Mihalek / Associated…)

PHILADELHPIA — All Danny Briere could hear were the agonizing screams. Star defenseman Chris Pronger buried his face in his hands after taking a brutal blow to the outside of the right eye, fearful of the worst for his eyesight.

Hunched over, Pronger skated straight to the bench, his hands over his eyes.

"I knew he was in trouble and needed help," said Briere, who skated with Pronger to the bench.

Pronger, the Flyers' captain, will miss two to three weeks and spend the next few days on bed rest, putting a scare in Philadelphia's 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday night.

"He was hit on the side, and there's a lot of swelling," Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren said. "The hope is that there's not a lot of blood buildup there where it will create issues."

Pronger and Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski sprinted for a loose puck in the circle after a rebound off Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky in the first period. Grabovski slapped at the puck, but his stick connected with Pronger's and the blade shot straight up into the defenseman's face.

Pronger did not return after the blow that hushed the crowd. Flyers forward Scott Hartnell called Pronger one of the "biggest warriors" in the NHL.

Pronger, an 18-year veteran, does not wear a visor. The protective piece is not required in the NHL, though several players have had their careers prematurely end after blows to the face. Holmgren said Pronger would not be cleared to play unless he wears one. Holmgren said Pronger complained of blurred vision.

The injury overshadowed the first two goals of the season for Jaromir Jagr and Scott Hartnell. Jagr scored his first NHL goal since April 6, 2008. He left to play three seasons in Russia before signing a one-year deal with the Flyers.

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