Report: Chris Pronger could miss training camp, may not be ready for season opener

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for grinningPronger.jpgOne of the after effects of the Philadelphia Flyers making it to the Stanley Cup finals is often having to deal with injuries suffered during the playoff run. Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger wasn’t immune to such perils and now is likely to miss training camp thanks to a knee injury initially suffered in the second round of the playoffs against the Bruins.

The Flyers said about a week ago Pronger underwent an outpatient surgical procedure on his knee, to remove some loose bodies from the area. The arthroscopic surgery showed there was no further damage to his knee, but the Flyers’ 35-year-old defenseman said he will not be completely healed by the time training camp begins, Sept. 17.

That contradicts general manager Paul Holmgren’s statement last week, that Pronger will, indeed, be completely healed by the time camp begins.

“No, I can tell you that much,” Pronger said, when asked whether he would be 100 percent when camp arrives. “With the amount of atrophy it is going to take a lot of hard work to build the leg muscles back up. Obviously, I will be spending a lot of hours in the gym trying to strengthen my knee and the rest of my body.

“A lot of times when you hurt your knee you walk different and you hurt your back or you hurt your other knee because you are loading that up more. It is really about your body becoming symmetrical again and you’re not over taxing any one part of your body.”

An older guy missing out on training camp isn’t anything too new. A lot of vets don’t mind getting the break early in the year like that because they’d rather be ready for the regular season and eventually the playoffs as well. Busting one’s hump in camp and in pre-season games isn’t any veteran’s idea of a good time, especially with training camp being as relatively short as it is. As for how it’ll affect him come the start of the season, Pronger’s not quite sure how that will play out.

“I hope to be in the lineup on October 7, but it is still very early on in the process to begin guessing on a timeframe,” Pronger said. “A lot can happen over the next few weeks and months, but absolutely that is one of the goals.”

Pronger said the injury impacted his play throughout the remainder of the playoffs. He cited his range of motion as am issue, saying it was “restricted,” and that his knee felt “tighter.”

Pronger was still a pretty damn good defenseman all things considered in the playoffs and perhaps the Blackhawks should be thankful that Pronger was as banged up as he was, otherwise they might not be carrying the Stanley Cup around all summer. Of course, suffering to try and win last year might hamper the start of this year and with the Flyers defense needing to be better in order to save goaltenders Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher a world of trouble, having Chris Pronger completely healthy is an absolute must for the Flyers. Coming off a Stanley Cup finals loss, however, getting bad news is tough to digest.

‘A good start’ — Stamkos stands out in preseason debut

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The Tampa Bay Lightning and National Hockey League unveiled the 2018 All-Star Game logo Friday.

Far more importantly for the Bolts this evening was the return of their all-star center Steven Stamkos, as he made his preseason debut in what was his first game in 10 months.

His 2016-17 season was abruptly ended in the middle of November because of a knee injury and subsequent surgery, making it the second time in four years his regular season had been disrupted by a major injury.

It may still take a while before Stamkos feels truly comfortable coming back from this injury.But his performance on Friday proved to be a very promising start for No. 91, the Bolts and their fans in Tampa Bay.

He didn’t score, but he assisted on two first period goals, including a nice set-up to linemate Nikita Kucherov, and the Lightning beat the Nashville Predators by a score of 3-1. Stamkos also received a healthy dose of ice time, playing more than 19 minutes, including 5:32 on the power play.

His pass to Kucherov resulted in a power play goal.

“It was exciting to get out there, I was pretty anxious about it… It was a good start, something to build on,” said Stamkos afterward, per the Lightning. “It was nice to just go through a game day, I haven’t done it in a long time… I was glad with how the first one went.”

Golden Knights assign 2017 first-round picks Glass, Suzuki to junior

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The Vegas Golden Knights continue to make roster moves during their inaugural training camp.

On Friday, the expansion club assigned four players to junior. That includes 2017 first-round picks Cody Glass of the Portland Winterhawks and Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack.

The Golden Knights made franchise history by taking Glass with the sixth overall pick and then selected Suzuki at 13th overall. Both players appeared in two preseason games for Vegas, each recording two points in the exhibition opener versus the Vancouver Canucks.

“Nobody is going to rush (the rookies), that’s for sure,” Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant told the Las Vegas Sun following the club’s 9-4 win over Vancouver on Sunday.

“We are in a position where we want to make sure they are ready to play. They are going to be good players when they’re healthy and strong enough to play in the league.”

Vegas has all three 2017 first-round picks — Glass, Suzuki and Erik Brannstrom — signed to three-year entry-level contracts.

Mitchell signed PTO with Blue Jackets — shortly after getting cut by Blackhawks

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When the Chicago Blackhawks announced their roster moves yesterday, John Mitchell was among the cuts.

His professional tryout with the Blackhawks had come to an end, as it did for veterans Mark Stuart and Drew Miller.

It can be an uphill battle to make an NHL roster for veterans on professional tryouts. But for Mitchell, he quickly received another opportunity to attend a camp and try to land a spot, signing a PTO with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Mitchell, 32, has appeared in 548 NHL regular season games with 70 goals and 177 points.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets are still without forward and restricted free agent Josh Anderson, as the two sides are stuck in a contract impasse right now. It was reported on Thursday that his representatives have been in contact with Hockey Canada about the 2018 Olympics.

Calgary mayor: ‘Errors of omission’ in Flames arena proposal

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On Thursday, the Calgary Flames released a report claiming they were prepared to contribute $275 million for a new arena, with additional funding — in the ball park of $225 million — from a Community Revitalization Levy.

On Friday, Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi responded to the proposal and the events of yesterday.

“I wouldn’t say dishonesty. I would, however, say that there are perhaps some errors of omission,” Nenshi told reporters, according to Global Calgary, when asked if there had been a level of dishonesty from the Flames with their proposal.

The Flames not only released a report with financial details to their website, but they also took out ads in local newspapers. Nenshi took issue with the details the Flames released yesterday.

“What was in that ad was not actually what the last deal on the table with the city was,” he said.

“For example, yesterday you saw that the Flames’ owners are claiming that they’re putting $275 million up front. Makes it sound like a (check) is being put on the table. Certainly that has not been discussed. That would’ve really changed things had that been the discussion.

“The discussion, the last I saw, was the Flames were putting $100 million in and the rest would be a ticket tax, which they wanted the city to take out, to get for and to front. I’m not quite sure how that equals the Flames putting in money up front.”

Yesterday, the Flames added in their report that, after two years of discussions with the city about a new arena, they will no longer pursue a new arena in Calgary.

The Flames currently play at the Saddledome, which is now 34 years old.