Chris Pronger’s offseason of rehab from back surgery is a point of interest for everyone in Philadelphia and Flyers fans all over the place. After all, Pronger’s the most formidable defenseman on the Flyers’ blue line and he’s also the guy who’s got more than a few more years left on his 35+ contract to play there. In short, the Flyers need him to be in tip-top shape for now and a the next six years.
With Pronger back on the ice and skating as well as doing shooting drills, hope has been running high that he’d be able to return in time for the Flyers first game of the year on opening night in Boston on October 7. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, making a comeback of his own after his bike accident last week, says that he believes Pronger is in line to be ready to go for the start of the regular season. CSNPhilly.com’s Sarah Baicker has the hopeful words out of Flyers camp.
There’s no definite timeline for Pronger’s return. He likely won’t join his teammates on the ice Saturday, when the full team’s training camp begins. But Holmgren – and Pronger – are optimistic he’ll be ready for Day 1 of the NHL season.
“Right now, I think he is [going to be ready for Day 1],” Holmgren said. “We haven’t had any setbacks. He continues to get better every day. He’s been on the ice the last few days here, and the off-ice rehab and conditioning he’s doing here is right on track.”
If Pronger is good to go on opening night, that’s encouraging beyond belief for the Flyers as they’d be looking at potentially starting both Oskars Bartulis and Andreas Lilja alongside Matt Carle, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros and Kimmo Timonen. With Pronger back in the lineup, one of either Bartulis or Lilja will get the call to start barring anyone blowing the coaches away during training camp.
For as tenuous as Pronger’s health and ability to hold up through all the physical abuse he takes seems to be, the Flyers desperately need him in the lineup to be a contender. If there’s any doubt that Pronger isn’t totally ready to get back in the lineup, the Flyers should proceed with caution. Then again, we’re not the ones that have to deal with a motivated and grumpy Pronger itchy to get back on the ice either. If he wants in, he’ll make sure it happens.
Lawson Crouse has joined a talented group of young forwards in Arizona, after the Coyotes acquired the 2015 first-round pick from the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
The Coyotes had to take on the contract of injured forward Dave Bolland, but in their minds, it was worth it to get a player like Crouse, who certainly brings size up front at six-foot-four-inches tall and 212 pounds. He had 23 goals and 62 points in 49 games this season with Kingston in the OHL.
“He’s a unique guy because usually when you add a guy with the type of size he has you usually give up a little bit in skating or you give up a little bit in skill,” said general manager John Chayka, as per the Coyotes website.
“He’s a guy that you add the size and he actually enhances that for your entire group. In our opinion, it was a guy that’s rare to find, difficult to obtain. Certainly, once they become established in the league, those players are locked up well into their 30s and then you end up trying to maybe overpay for a player that has these attributes that’s not in the prime of his career.”
Crouse, who turned 19 years old in June, now joins the likes of Max Domi, Dylan Strome and Anthony Duclair as part of Arizona’s group of up-and-coming young forwards. He has familiarity with all three from playing in the OHL or for Team Canada at the world juniors.
“He can fly. He’s fast and he hits and he scores goals. You kinda get the total package,” Strome told Sportsnet.
There’s been another possible development in the search for a team name for the Las Vegas NHL franchise.
The Las Vegas ‘Desert Knights’ could perhaps be a thing.
From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
Last week domain names were registered that might be an indicator that the NHL team scheduled to begin play in 2017 could be called the Las Vegas Desert Knights.
Last week the domains lasvegasdesertknights.com, vegasdesertknights.com and desertknightshockey.com were privately registered to Moniker Privacy Services, which is the same company that procured the domain name to NHL.com.
DetroitHockey.net first reported the new domain name Thursday morning.
Foley said via text message he had no comment regarding the process when reached by the Review-Journal.
As the Las Vegas franchise continues to hire key members for its hockey operations department, there is growing intrigue when it comes to the search for a new name.
What will this new franchise be called?
The wait continues, and there has been a lot of space dedicated to speculating and discussing the possibilities.
It’s been reported that the expansion franchise could use one of at least three ‘Hawks’-orientated names. Owner Bill Foley also said this summer that Las Vegas can’t use a ‘Knights’ nickname is Canada, because London’s OHL franchise was also named the Knights.
Stay tuned . . .
Scott Luce has gone from the Florida Panthers to the Las Vegas expansion franchise.
The new NHL organization — still searching for a team name — announced Thursday that it has hired Luce as its new director of amateur scouting.
Luce spent the last 14 years in Florida, as a scout and as director of player personnel.
Luce was let go earlier in the offseason, as the Panthers underwent massive change within their front office, with the promotion of Dale Tallon to president of hockey operations and Tom Rowe to GM, and more attention to analytics.
After announcing the hiring of Jared Bednar as their next head coach, the Colorado Avalanche have brought in forward Rene Bourque on a professional tryout, according to James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail.
Bourque became an unrestricted free agent at the beginning of July, after his six-year contract worth a total value of $20 million expired. The annual cap hit on his previous deal was $3.333 million.
He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets, scoring three goals and eight points in 49 games. He was placed on waivers at the end of February.
During the 2014-15 campaign, he spent time with the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks and the Blue Jackets, before a back injury sidelined him for the remainder of that season.