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Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls to the ice after being hit in the face by a stick during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Chris Pronger #20 of the Philadelphia Flyers falls to the ice after being hit in the face by a stick during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center on October 24, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers defeated the Leafs 4-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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PRONGER NEARS RETURN

Philadelphia Flyers captain Chris Pronger is almost fully recovered from the scary injury he suffered in late October, when he was hit in the right eye by the stick of Toronto Maple Leafs centre Mikhail Grabovski. A return next week is probable. The big defenceman skated for nearly an hour Friday, sporting a visor. He refused to speak to the media afterward, but general manager Paul Holmgren said he has been medically cleared to play. “Everything’s fine. His eye is healed up,” Holmgren said. “His vision is back to normal. With him, it’s getting more practice time. He needs some practice time with the team before he becomes an option. But he’s getting closer.”

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DOMINATOR NOT DONE YET?

NHL.com correspondent Michael Langr caught up this week with former NHL star goaltender Dominik Hasek, who indicated he might again play in the KHL or make a return to the Czech Extraliga. Currently on hockey hiatus, the 46-year-old is living like he’s on The Amazing Race. His recent adventures include skiing on a glacier in the Alps with Czech Olympic downhill medalist Sarka Zahrobska, crossing Albania by bike and competing with professional drivers at the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo race in Barcelona. Still, the great frozen game is always on his mind. “All those activities keep me in good shape. I still think about returning to play hockey next year, so it is important for me to do other sports now and be ready,” Hasek said.

HAPPY TRY HOCKEY FOR FREE DAY

More than 430 sites in 47 U.S. states will conduct free one-hour clinics Saturday to introduce nearly 10,000 American children ages 4 to 9 to hockey on Try Hockey For Free Day. The event is part of a slate of activities scheduled for Come Play Hockey Month – an initiative involving USA Hockey and the NHL designed to increase youth participation in the sport. According to USA Hockey, last season, more than 100,000 children younger than 9 registered to play hockey, a 15-per-cent increase from 2008.

BY THE NUMBERS

Plus-8

Much-maligned Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Mike Komisarek’s plus/minus rating as of Friday, tied for fourth-best in the league. Komisarek’s ratings the last two seasons were minus-8 and minus-9, respectively.

6

Games and counting without a win for the Detroit Red Wings. The franchise hasn’t suffered through a winless streak this long since February of 2008.

QUOTES

“This recent history of ramming his head into the faces of his opponents, regardless of whether he is trying to free the puck, leads us to believe that this act is intentional.”

- NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, on his decision to suspend Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta for a head-butt on Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers.

“Well, I was pissed off. Of course I want to be in that situation on the ice and you know it doesn’t matter who I said and what I said.”

- Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin, on getting benched late in the third period last Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks. Television cameras caught the Russian star swearing at head coach Bruce Boudreau.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

Well the stache has been cut! They broke a few razors but made it through. the race is on...may the best mo win!!!

Anaheim Ducks forward George Parros (@stache16) tweets on his participation in the Movember event to raise awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer

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