Flyers GM Holmgren: Chris Pronger has 'minor' knee surgery, will be ready for training camp


prongerknockshishelmetoff.jpgOn paper, getting an impact player of Chris Pronger’s caliber for a little less than $5 million (cap hit-wise) is a mind blowing steal. Despite failing to garner enough votes for a single Conn Smythe Trophy, I’ve made a passionate argument that he could have won it on three separate occasions – two of times on losing teams. (Yeah, I occasionally advance a hare brained theory or two. What’s it to you?)

There is a catch, though. The team thought it was getting a typical cap circumventing contract when they signed his deal. Just look at his year-by-year salaries via (Click to enlarge)


It’s painfully obvious that GM Paul Holmgren & Co. were under the impression that he would retire either in 2014-15 or 2015-16, but they failed to recognize that the 35+ penalty would kick in since Pronger will turn that age in October. So, even if Pronger retires (and there’s a decent chance he’d want to since he’d only be paid the league minimum during the last two seasons), the Flyers will still be responsible for that $4.9 million-plus cap hit.

Why do I bring up his contract situation? Because any report like this has to make you a little worried about the controversial defenseman’s future health. This comes straight from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Holmgren: “Chris Pronger had minor surgery on his right knee last week. He will be ready for the start of training camp.”

It’s hard to believe that any knee surgery is “minor” – especially for a player with the kind of mileage and size as Pronger – but we’ll take Holmgren’s word for it at this point. It’ll be interesting to see how long Pronger will be worth it for the Flyers. Then again, if they make a few more deep playoff runs, he might be worth the trouble.

Personal reasons: No Ovechkin for Caps tonight

Alex Ovechkin
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Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.

He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.

Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).

That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out

This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:

No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.

Bruins put Morrow on IR, bring up Cross

Brady Skjei, Joe Morrow
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Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.

With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:

Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.

Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.

Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.

The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?