Back surgery will sideline Michael Leighton 6-8 weeks; can Sergei Bobrovsky steal top job?

Thumbnail image for prongerandleighton.jpgTough injury-related news out of Philadelphia today: the Flyers just announced that goalie Michael Leighton will need surgery on his back. That procedure will keep Leighton out six to eight weeks according to the team.

Philadelphia Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren told that goaltender Michael Leighton will have back surgery on Monday, Oct. 11 at Methodist in Philadelphia.

“The procedure, a partial discectomy, will be performed by Dr. Alex Vacarro,” said Holmgren. “Michael will be out six to eight weeks.”

You have to wonder if even a two-month window is a little bit conservative for something as serious as back surgery, so either way, the team shouldn’t expect Leighton to be back anytime soon.

Thumbnail image for bobrovskystealsshow.jpgA Flyers fan (or outside observer) could look at the situation a few ways. One negative approach is to say that the Flyers are forever doomed in net, as the team went through a ridiculous carousel last season because of injuries and didn’t even wait for the season to begin the pattern this year.

Of course, on the other hand, this gives Sergei Bobrovsky a very real chance to earn himself a spot with the team. It’s way too early to say that the rookie is an “answer” in net for Philadelphia, but he stole the show against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night as the Flyers won 3-2.

Who knows if this injury will have a huge impact on the Flyers or not, but in an ideal world, Leighton would return from his back surgery trying to win the No. 2 job from Brian Boucher instead of returning to save the day as the team’s two goalies fall apart. We’ll just have to wait and see, then.


In shorter term injury news, Sam Carchidi reports that Chris Pronger is a “long shot” to play for the Flyers on Saturday. Surely the team will like to have their cornerstone defenseman back as soon as possible on the heels of that bad goalie news, but Philadelphia will probably err on the side of safety with its huge blue line star.

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    Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

    Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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    If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

    “Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

    The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

    Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

    With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

    Measuring stick stretch begins

    Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

    This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

    It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

    In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

    Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


    Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

    It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

    His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

    These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

    Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

    Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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    Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

    Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

    It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

    Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

    Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

    Peter Chiarelli

    It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

    Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

    You can see and hear his full comments below:

    If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

    Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

    Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

    Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.