Chris Pronger

Pronger problems: Chris Pronger to have back surgery to remove herniated disc

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When the Flyers bowed out of the postseason meekly against the Bruins, one prime time figure that proved not to be a factor at all was Chris Pronger. Pronger played just a couple games against Buffalo in the first round and only Game 1 against Boston as he was coming off a broken hand injury at the end of the season.

When Pronger missed out on the rest of the Flyers’ series with Boston, it was believed that there was something else amiss for the hulking defenseman. Pronger was quizzed about that as the team packed up for the summer but he wasn’t sure what, if anything, he’d do about it in the offseason. As it turns out, he’s going to get things taken care of right away as he’ll be having surgery on his back on Thursday to have a herniated disc removed.

CSN Philly has the details on what’s ailing the irascible defenseman.

Pronger, who missed the last three games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Boston Bruins, is scheduled to have a procedure called a discectomy, which will be performed by orthopedic specialist Frank Cammisa at The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The Flyers’ 36-year-old defenseman was reported to have been experiencing pain in his back and leg, and he saw specialists earlier this week to determine their origin.

The operation sounds nasty, but clearly having a repaired and healthy Pronger ready for next season and beyond is far more important for the team than anything else. With the Flyers on the hook for Pronger up through the 2016-2017 season they need to keep him as healthy as possible since Pronger’s deal is a 35+ contract, Pronger’s $4.921 million cap hit stays on their books unless he’s traded.

It’s tough to keep mentioning that contract because it did seem so crazy at the time it was signed and seems worse now with Pronger coming off an injury-filled season and playoffs, but those are the realities of the salary cap world when you’re an older player. We don’t doubt that Pronger will bust his tail to get back in shape and healthy, we question how effective he’ll be when it’s all said and done.

BREAKING: Flames fire head coach Bob Hartley

Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley gives instructions during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 5, 2016. The Flames won 4-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Associated Press
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The Calgary Flames have decided to move on from head coach Bob Hartley. The team made the announcement via their Twitter account on Tuesday morning. Associate coach Jacques Cloutier has also been informed that he won’t be back next season.

Hartley and the Flames surprised many last year when they won 45 games and made the postseason. Hartley was awarded the Jack Adams Trophy as the league’s top coach.

What a difference a year makes. Unfortunately for the Flames, they won just 35 games in 2015-16 and finished 26th in the overall standings. They were also the NHL’s worst defensive team, and that doesn’t reflect well on the coaching staff.

The Flames have called a press conference at noon ET.

More details to come.

Kris Letang will have a hearing for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Many expected it to happen and now it has. The NHL’s Department of Player Safety confirmed that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang will have a hearing for his hit on Caps forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3.

After Brooks Orpik was suspended three games for this hit on Olli Maatta in Game 2, many people are expecting a similar outcome for Letang. It’s important to note that there are certain similarities between the two hits, but there are also some key differences.

Both victims definitely took shots to the head, there’s no doubt about that, but to say that the hits are identical isn’t accurate. First, although Letang’s hit appears to be late (0.6 seconds after the puck is gone is considered late), it isn’t as late as Orpik’s hit on Maatta. Another key factor to consider is that unlike Maatta, Johansson returned to the game.

Letang was given a two-minute penalty for interference on the play.

TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie breaks it down perfectly:

A decision is expected to be made later on today.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

Stanley Cup
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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with three games on Tuesday night. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

Tampa Bay at NY Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

San Jose at Nashville (9:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on the USA Network. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Dallas at St. Louis (9:30 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 3 will be on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for tonight’s action:

Lightning strikes: Bolts even series with Islanders

The Sharks are the only team to grab a 2-0 series lead in the second round

Seguin resumes skating in Dallas, Ruff notes ‘they have flights to St. Louis every day’

PHT Morning Skate: Adam Henrique wants to make NHL 17 great again

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)

–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)

–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)

–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)

Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17: