We passed along word that Chris Pronger had “minor” knee surgery in August, but hadn’t heard much about his status since then. Apparently the menacing defenseman is still working his way back into playing form as Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inqurier reports that Pronger was “coy” about playing in Thursday’s opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“It’s progressing along and we’ll see,” he said, smiling and repeating the refrain to several questions about his availability against the archrival Penguins.
On Tuesday, Pronger practiced for the second time this preseason.
“As a goalie, we love having him out there,” Brian Boucher said. “. . ..He’s our leader back there and eats up a lot of minutes.”
“He’s like the big toe on your foot,” defenseman Sean O’Donnell said. “Things seem to work a lot better when he’s out there. I know he’s not 100 percent . . . but I think there’s 30 teams that would love to have him as their anchor guy.”
A big toe on your foot, eh? (I thought he’d say an elbow on your arm.)
Anyway, while Pronger seems day-to-day, goalie Michael Leighton is closer to week-to-week. Carchidi reports that the Flyers decided not to put Leighton on the long-term injured reserve.
Goalie Michael Leighton, sidelined with a back injury, is progressing, and the Flyers decided not to put him on the long-term injured list, in which a player must miss 10 games or 24 days. Instead, he was placed on the injured-reserve list and can be activated at any time, since seven days have transpired since the injury occurred, Holmgren said.
Leighton is not expected to be available for a few weeks.
With Leighton on injured reserve, his $1.55 million salary counts against the Flyers’ salary cap, but he does not count against the roster. Without Leighton, the Flyers have 24 players and can get down to the league maximum of 23 by placing Ian Laperriere on the long-term injury list on Wednesday.
So it might be a month or so before we “see” most of the Flyers team that made it to the Stanley Cup finals. Still, the team has enough talent that PHT readers think they’ll win the Atlantic Division over the Pittsburgh Penguins and New Jersey Devils this season, so once they get to 100 percent they can might be quite the force.
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?
Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.
Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.
Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.
Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).
A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:
Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.
It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.
After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.
Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.