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.
Yesterday, we passed along the good news/bad news scenario facing the New York Islanders, as Matthew Martin was suspended for two games (bad) while Kyle Okposo practiced in full gear for the first time since his preseason injury (good).
Sadly, the hard-luck Isles face a double shot of bad news today. The team announced that they placed goalie Rick DiPietro and defenseman Mike Mottau on the injured reserve. While it’s unclear how long DiPietro will be out, the team confirmed that Mottau’s season is over. Mottau’s injury requires hip surgery, so he’ll miss the rest of the 2010-11 campaign.
Both players have been dealing with plenty of adversity, injuries-wise. DiPietro’s had well-documented knee problems for years and swelling in his right knee showed the first signs that he isn’t out of the woods just yet. Mottau missed 10 games with a scary eye injury, but the only good news seems to be that his eyes might not be the issue this time around.
It’s been a dreadful season in Long Island. The only solace they can take is that they’re likely to get another lottery pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. It’s tough to imagine that DiPietro will be much more than an albatross as they try to take more deliberate, painful steps toward respectability.
It hasn’t exactly been a banner year for Mr. Hillary Duff, Mike Comrie.
He seemed to make a clever long-term move by accepting a bargain basement one-year, $500K deal with the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, possibly skating with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin can be a great way to display one’s skill. Yet instead of flourishing as a complimentary piece to some great players, Comrie only managed five assists in 16 games with the Pens so far.
Combine his on the ice struggles with off the ice financial concerns and this has been a year (or so) to forget for the man known best for his tabloid-feeding relationship.
It appears that a bad season might get even worse for the 30-year-old center. Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that he might need surgery on his hip because his rehab process hasn’t gone well. He originally injured his hip on October 9th but re-injured it along the way and hasn’t played since November 24th.
Anderson writes that Comrie will see a doctor next Monday to determine if surgery is necessary. We’ll keep you updated.
(H/T to The Confluence.)