Five Flyers will have off-season surgery, general manager Paul Holmgren announced Tuesday _ and that doesn’t include defenseman Chris Pronger, whose back condition is still being evaluated by doctors and isn’t expected to be known until later in the day.
The five: Mike Richards (wrist), Andrej Meszaros (wrist), Kris Versteeg (sports hernia); Michael Leighton (hip) and Blair Betts (finger).
Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter are also being evaluated for possible hip surgery, Holmgren said, adding he hopes to know their medical status on Friday.
It will probably be known later Tuesday if Pronger will need surgery, Holmgren said.
The GM said Richards dealt with an injured wrist since training camp and that it “inhibited his play in certain aspects - it affected his performance in the faceoff circle and I think it affected his shot.”
According to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, five Flyers will undergo offseason surgery and three others will know by the end of the week if they are candidates for surgery as well.
Center Mike Richards will have surgery to repair a torn wrist ligament injured during training camp; right wing Kris Versteeg will undergo surgery to repair a hernia; center Blair Betts will undergo finger surgery; and defenseman Andrej Meszaros will have wrist surgery.
Scott Hartnall and Jeff Cartrer are being evaluated for hip issues that may require surgery and Chris Pronger should know later today if back surgery is required. Holmgren said Pronger has lower back pain and diminished leg strength.
“I’m going to get the body fixed up right now,” he said, “do the surgery, recover and get ready for next season.”
Acquired from the Toronto Maple leafs on Feb. 14 for a Flyers 2011 first and third-round draft pick, the right-handed forward, billed as ‘tough to play against’, defensively-capable and a skilled finisher, was none of the above and cost the Flyers on more than one occasion with poor puck decisions. While his abdomen is far from his brain, he recorded just 10 hits in 11 postseason games, a statistic that could directly reflect his injury. Taking the physical play out of the game of an in-your-face style player and his impact on any contest could suffer as a result.
Although he produced a mild 11 points in 27 games and just one goal and five assists in 11 playoff games, Versteeg, who signed for two more years at $3.08 million didn’t view the season as a failure. Quite the opposite, actually.
“I thought it ended up going fine, I felt good,” said Versteeg, who was on Mike Richards’ wing. “Near the end of the season I started feeling good and in the playoffs I played well, it just came down to bounces here and there. You have to sit and look at your season from an outside perspective and take in what you can and work towards having a good year next year.”
I foresee a Mark Howe situation from here on in......remember suffering with him out of the lineup and having to endure Gene Hart cite the Flyers record with him in and out of the lineup for a number of years until he went to Detroit to join McCrimmon his old partner. Lindros was similar all those years....but for some reason Howe sticks out the most since he was so important to the Flyers for many years until they got Desjardins and he was run into the ground with overuse like Timonen....
Some banter between Bill Meltzer and Sarah Baicker on twitter suggests that Timonen will need hip and back surgery.
Amazing looks like with Timonen and Pronger being medically impaired our window is being closed shut quicker than we thought. Nice job Holmgren not getting us a goalie these years so we could at least take solace in a cup win. 25 years for me with no cup and 36 for the team.....awesome!
This was part of Melter's posting for today dealing with Timonen and Pronger...the whole piece pretty much got me depressed as there is def a lot of issues to contend with moving forward. Not going to be pretty.
Most people will say that goaltending is the first area the Flyers need to assess in the weeks to come. I disagree. It's crystal clear cut that the Flyers need a bonafide starting goalie next season. But before the Flyers can decide in which direction to look for a goalie (big-ticket veteran UFAs like Ilya Bryzgalov and Tomas Vokoun, trading for an up-and-coming young goalie, blockbuster trade, etc) they need first to assess how much longer their window of Cup opportunity extends with Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen.
There is reason to be fearful that Pronger's body is starting to break down. I'm not talking about the spring hand surgery (although he's had hand problems in the past in his career) and the December surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot. Broken bones are an unpredictable job risk that applies to every player in the game.
Heading into next season, what really worries me about Pronger's physical condition are the other injuries he's had. Even when he was in the lineup, Pronger had a so-so season by his standards in 2010-11. I suspect that a big part of it was that the knee surgery he had late last off-season was not as successful as hoped. He missed the start of the regular season and it took a long time -- right about until the time he had the broken foot -- to start looking close to truly being on top of his game again. He has never been a speedster, but this year, Pronger was skating almost as poorly as a late-career Derian Hatcher. That's simply the truth.
Also, it has to be concern that he was forced out of the Boston series after Game 1 with some sort of combination of back and/or hamstring issues. I would never question Pronger's toughness or willingness to play through injuries. If he can possibly play in the playoffs, he will.
With Pronger, there is also a question as to how others on the team respond to him. His abrasive, bad-cop approach is sometimes exactly what the team needs. At other times, it simply rubs others the wrong way and creates the unhealthy type of tension.
For example, on the night when Pronger lit into Claude Giroux, the veteran defenseman himself had played one of his worst games of the season. Don't think for one second that it wasn't noticed and griped about. That was probably an example of a situation where Pronger should have taken the "we all stunk tonight" approach. Taking a "that's the bottom line because Chris Pronger said so" approach works only when he is delivering the goods on the ice at a superstar level.
In addition, there have been rumors emanating from high-placed sources that Pronger told his own teammates prior to Game 6 of the Buffalo series that he was not physically up to playing. Then he played after all, appearing only in power play duty in Game 6 before playing more regular minutes in the final game of the series. The handling of the whole hand injury, by Pronger himself as well as the team, left others perplexed and even angry. It's one thing to try to keep secret from the media when and if Pronger was playing. It's quite another when his own teammates had no idea half the time.
But it should also be said that Pronger's vocal presence was sorely missed at times when others needed to be held accountable and he was not there. Fingers will be pointed at other leaders in the locker room -- starting with Mike Richards -- and I think it's legitimate to ask whether others picked up enough of the slack.
With Timonen, it was clear that the veteran was badly banged up for much of the season. He never complained about it. Unfortunately, it showed up in his play. He was not the defensive stopper the Flyers needed him to be, especially in Pronger's absence. Kimmo also seemed to lose his offensive confidence, and it is quite possible that he needs to become more of a defensive defenseman as he ages than someone who belongs on the power play.
Timonen is more of a quiet leader than Pronger. But he is also extremely honest and does not sugar coat things. When something needs to be said, he'll say it, albeit at a lower volume than Pronger.
Moving forward, the Flyers need to determine whether they have the personnel around Pronger and Timonen -- both of whom have huge contracts and aren't going anywhere -- to withstand reduced games and/or declining play over the long season.
Andrej Meszaros proved to be an excellent addition last summer. Braydon Coburn was inconsistent in the playoffs, but I thought he was one of the few Flyers who played well on a regular basis in the second half of the season. Matt Carle is coming off a terrible playoff run. The ageless O'Donnell was on a one-year contract and is an unrestricted free agent.
My own take is that the Flyers have one more year of their opportunity window with Pronger and Timonen. In order to compensate for the physical issues that are likely to continue being a factor, the Flyers are going to need a proven veteran goalie in whom the rest of the team has confidence. But that may mean having to a sacrifice a big salaried forward. This year, I think the goalie market will be a little less buyer-friendly than it was last offseason. I will discuss that issue tomorrow.
We could get Patrick Roy in net, but if Timonen and Pronger are in and out due to injuries all season long, we aren't winning ****. As much as getting a #1 is the top priority and should be, I think the season really rests on the health of them.
Agreed on the whole window with Timonen and Pronger.
I can see 1 more year left for that window.
Only problem is we dont have anyone to replace them. I guess we can look at free agency, but there arenone of these top 2 defender type of players out there. A lot of the Coburn/Carle's and less
Meszaros will take the #1 spot soonish, he just needs a couple of years of seasoning as the nr3 guy behind Timonen and Pronger.
Before anyone claims he will not ever be a #1 defender because he wasn't that in Tampa. He was too young for that role and the supporting cast was nothing but crap.
Meszaros-Coburn will be our #1-2 punch after few years, the problem will be the #3-4 guys once Timonen and Pronger are retired/broken. That's why Homer should trade Carle/Versteeg for a 1st rounder in 2011 draft and pick a defenseman. That prospect should be NHL ready in 2-4 years. The other #3-4 can be obtained via free agency.