Chris Pronger admits he’s not 100 percent coming back from knee surgery

I’m often quite amused by the way people arbitrarily use percentages in sports. While it’s useful to throw out some vague percentage as a way of relating other vague descriptions (“almost better” or “halfway there” come to mind), they still make me giggle quite a bit.

So take what you will from this article that focuses on how Chris Pronger isn’t quite 100 percent as he recovers from off-season knee surgery.

Pronger played in seven games for Philadelphia so far, with only two assists to show for his efforts. The most glaring stat, though, is that Pronger is averaging a normal defenseman workload rather than his near-half game of work (21:21 minutes per game instead of about 26 minutes like last year).

Assistant coach Kevin McCarthy ranks among the people who notices the difference.

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you miss training camp, it’s tough to just step right into a season,” McCarthy said. “He hasn’t been able to train the way he’s used to training. You take those two equations, and with any hockey player, it’s going to be tough to play the way that you want.”

Pronger averaged 21:36 in ice time through his first seven games, down about 5 1/2 minutes from his career average of 27 minutes per game. And it’s not because the Flyers are trying to save him for the postseason or he wants to work 18 percent less.

“It’s tough when you’re an elite player like Prongs and you expect so much out of yourself,” McCarthy said. “He can still be an effective player for us. But at the same time, he’s been around long enough to know that a Chris Pronger at 80 percent is better than most players at 100 percent.”

Yes, but what if those players are giving 110 percent?

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: