Marc-Andre Fleury probably gets the biggest amount of blame for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ugly quarterfinals loss against the Philadelphia Flyers, but their defense had some egg on their faces too. Zbynek Michalek’s been a disappointment since signing from the Phoenix Coyotes in the summer of 2011 (though not as much as Paul Martin), yet a cleaner bill of health might help him bounce back.
The team reports that he underwent hip surgery today. The Penguins believe that Michalek should be ready to participate in training camp.
Michalek’s contract carries a $4 million cap hit for two more seasons.
The last two seasons started to push him into the elite discussions in the first place, but an impressive playoff year and a runaway Selke Trophy victory cemented Ryan Kesler as more than just the Vancouver Canucks’ “other elite center.” Kesler did a little bit of everything during that postseason, especially during a star-making turn in the second round against the Nashville Predators.
That being said, things seemed a bit “off” for Kesler late in the San Jose Sharks series. That carried over to the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins, as Kesler seemed like he lost a step while some whispers of a lower-body injury floated around.
Perhaps those rumors were justified because Kesler underwent successful surgery on his hip today. The procedure (specifically, “hip labral surgery”) will sideline the two-way forward for 10-12 weeks, according to the team. USA Today’s Kevin Allen contextualizes the cost: he’ll miss training camp and probably some of the first games of the 2011-12 season.
My guess is that the cost won’t be too big, as long as the Canucks are cautious not to rush him back. Training camp won’t be as crucial for Kesler because the team is largely the same one he battled with in 2010-11 and it could be argued that he might benefit from a little extra rest.
It wouldn’t be shocking if the Canucks start next season a little slow after a rugged and ultimately heartbreaking journey that fell just short of the Stanley Cup. Kesler’s temporary absence adds some validity to that gut reaction. Then again, Vancouver dealt with a lot of hurdles and challenges last season, too, so they might be able to weather the next series of storms – even if they’re do-everything second center might be a little late to the party.
If the Pittsburgh Penguins want Mike Comrie to suit up for them again during the 2010-11 season, it will only happen between March and April 2011.
That’s because the center (and main squeeze of Hillary Duff, as I imagine you surely know by this point) finally underwent surgery on his hip today after originally suffering from that issue on October 9th.
Comrie signed a one-year, $500K contract with Pittsburgh this off-season, a deal that seemed like it would benefit the Penguins more than anyone else. The prevailing wisdom was that this was a high-profile audition for the once-touted prospect to show what he could do with some talented linemates.
Instead, Comrie struggled with production (zero goals and five assists in 16 games) and injuries (he missed the past 15 games with the hip injury). It’s been a rough year for the 30-year-old forward and who knows if he’ll appear again during this season, but we’ll keep you updated if he manages to do so.