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Back to backs?

I know I can be like a dog with a bone sometimes, well, most of the time, but when I saw this tweet, I wasn’t thinking of Pronger:

I was thinking about Leighton and the fact that he had the same sort of surgery last Fall.  See, Leighton isn’t Pronger, so even if they had the same surgery, it wasn’t viewed the same way by fans and the media.

This bit of information, however, should be treated a little like Leighton’s back problems:

See, rushing your way back into the game usually backfires.  I know impatience can be an asset for a professionally competitive person, but someone needs to save these guys from themselves.  Presumably, a sensible team manager or coach would be that person.  You know, because the players are their assets to use and maintain.

So, there’s been a lot of worried sounds coming from the Flyers fan base ever since Pronger missed games last season.  But I don’t hear the character assassinations like I heard after the announcement of Leighton’s back problem.  Yes, Leighton had just signed a new contract.  Yes, he didn’t feel 100% after the 2010 playoffs, but some people may have attributed that to having been injured, you know, like he was before returning after Boosh got hurt.   Even Pronger says it’s hard to know about back problems:

If Pronger says it, it cannot be disputed. (Even if the transcription has typos.)

I blame Byfuglien for hitting Pronger back in June 2010, but I like to blame Byfuglien, however infrequently the opportunity arises these days.  The long and the short of it is that back problems present like a lot of different things, and they tend to lurk.  So no, you can’t be sure that being squashed by Dustin Byfuglien, hard enough to take the edge off your game for the rest of the playoffs… you can’t be sure that’s how you hurt your back, because you won’t know right away.  Heck, you could tweak it getting out of the car wrong one morning.  That’s how lurking injuries work.

Also you didn’t hear much patience or sympathy for Leighton when he did return, probably too soon to boot.

Are hockey players expected to be extra attentive to their physical condition, at all times?  In theory, yes.  Yet some players, even the best, just don’t bother with all that fluffy phys therapy and hoodoo.  And they get away with it, apparently:

“…I haven’t had physical therapy. As I mentioned, time flies so fast when I am in Russia, in Ekaterinburg. It is one of my minuses that I do pay enough attention to my health, don’t spend enough time on it, because there is so much I want to do and I want to make sure I do it.” -Pavel Datsyuk

Hope that works out for him.  None of us want to see that career cut short for lack of maintenance.

Oh well.  Life sucks.  Back to the important subject: backup goalies.  I do agree with The Goalie Guild that Bob should be sent down before the season starts, play an awesome year with the Phantoms and return for 2012-13.  Not because I think Bob is a bad backup but because I believe he could be an excellent starter, given the chance to develop.

Leights is better as  a backup, better than Bob and, right now, better than Leights the starter.  Playing as backup gives him less time to over-think or fret, though it gives him less time to warm up.  That could be a problem, especially since he re-injured himself in the last playoffs.  Whatever the state of his health, he doesn’t need to spend another year in the AHL.  He already knows what he needs to know, unlike Bob, who could learn a lot.

But that won’t happen.  The Flyers have gone off the rails crazy and I expect nothing reasonable from their decision department this season.  For example, Caps fans await the season with much anticipation, partly due to their new goalie, Tomas Vokoun.  Also, according to one eye witness, Nabby doesn’t look a thing like a goalie with a severe groin injury.  Looked very well, in fact, during a pickup game last week.  Can’t tell from a pickup game, you say?  The salient point is: no limp, which is all you need to know with iron man Nabokov.

Whatever, Bryz better be healthy.  That’s all I have to say about him.  Today.

More on Pronger’s progression can be found here: Chris Pronger Still Battling Hand Injury


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