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Kunitz: 'Pretty scary' to see Pronger shut down for season

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By Josh Yohe
Friday, Dec. 16, 2011
 

OTTAWA -- Anyone wearing the 'C' on the Philadelphia Flyers sweater is generally an enemy of the Penguins.

Left wing Chris Kunitz, however, was thinking about Flyers captain Chris Pronger in a completely different light Friday.

A day earlier, the Flyers announced Pronger was out for the season with a concussion that figures to threaten the future Hockey Hall of Famer`s career.

Kunitz and Pronger won a Stanley Cup together in Anaheim in 2007.

'It`s a pretty scary thing to see him get shut down for the season,' Kunitz said.

Pronger is a classic representation of toughness and for most of his career has seemed almost indestructible.

Yet Pronger, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound defenseman who won the 2000 Hart Trophy as NHL MVP, has fallen victim to an injury that is steamrolling the league.

Doctors say each concussion is different, and it appears Pronger has been ambushed by a particularly powerful one. The Flyers announced on Thursday that Pronger will miss the rest of the regular season and the postseason.

'Any time you see somebody have to deal with a career-threatening thing,' Kunitz said, 'it really does concern you. You think about his family and what it`s like for them, what they`re going through. I've been through surgeries before and stuff like that, but nothing like this.'

Pronger joins a list of NHL stars out with concussions. They include the person many consider the world`s greatest player (Penguins center Sidney Crosby), the league`s leading goal scorer (Ottawa`s Milan Michalek), the leading point producer (Philadelphia`s Claude Giroux) and stars that include Penguins defenseman Kris Letang, Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, Los Angeles center Mike Richards and Carolina center Jeff Skinner.

Kunitz hopes to see Pronger play again in the NHL.

'You hope it`s just precautionary,' Kunitz said.

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