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Chris Pronger admits he’s not 100 percent coming back from knee surgery


James O’Brien

I’m often quite amused by the way people arbitrarily use percentages in sports. While it’s useful to throw out some vague percentage as a way of relating other vague descriptions (“almost better” or “halfway there” come to mind), they still make me giggle quite a bit.

So take what you will from this article that focuses on how Chris Pronger isn’t quite 100 percent as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.

Pronger played in seven games for Philadelphia so far, with only two assists to show for his efforts. The most glaring stat, though, is that Pronger is averaging a normal defenseman workload rather than his near-half game of work (21:21 minutes per game instead of about 26 minutes like last year).

Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy ranks among the people who notices the difference.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you miss training camp, it’s tough to just step right into a season,” McCarthy said. “He hasn’t been able to train the way he’s used to training. You take those two equations, and with any hockey player, it’s going to be tough to play the way that you want.”

Pronger averaged 21:36 in ice time through his first seven games, down about 5 1/2 minutes from his career average of 27 minutes per game. And it’s not because the Flyers are trying to save him for the postseason or he wants to work 18 percent less.

“It’s tough when you’re an elite player like Prongs and you expect so much out of yourself,” McCarthy said. “He can still be an effective player for us. But at the same time, he’s been around long enough to know that a Chris Pronger at 80 percent is better than most players at 100 percent.”

Yes, but what if those players are giving 110 percent?