The New York Rangers might just hunt for Alexander Radulov due to Marian Gaborik’s off-season shoulder surgery, but the bottom line is that the team needs a healthy Gaborik to maintain its contender status. The timetable for his return remains to be seen, yet Andrew Gross passes along word that Gabroik and Brandon Prust (finger) underwent “issue-free surgeries” today.
Gaborik received some heat for his late struggles in the playoffs, and to some extent, it comes with the territory for a guy who carries a $7.5 million annual salary cap hit. Still, there should be little doubt that the world-class sniper was hampered by that bum shoulder as the postseason went along.
(We’ll probably hear about more than a few New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings who were fighting through injuries whenever the Stanley Cup finals ends.)
The early word is that Gaborik won’t be ready for the start of next season – assuming it kicks off in October as many of us hope. Considering Gaborik’s value and history of injury troubles, the Rangers would be wise to take a measured approach with his rehab.
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.
Ever since he joined the team at 23 years old, Daniel Alfredsson has been an instrumental part in the Ottawa Senators’ rise to credibility. Year-in and year-out, the Swedish star provided the team with productive offense and reliable play in every area of the ice. While the cast around him kept changing, the steady Swede rarely let his team down.
Things seemed to sour a bit during the Senators’ rough 2010-11 campaign, though. Alfredsson couldn’t seem to get healthy as he was limited to 31 points and a -19 rating in 54 games played after eight straight seasons of 70+ games played.
A season-ending back injury seemed to be the main culprit, so Alfredsson decided to undergo back surgery about six weeks ago. The Senators captain told Ian Mendes that his rehab is on track, which means his recovery period should allow him to be ready for training camp in September (or at least the start of the regular season).
“The rehab is going well. I start skating next week and it’s another step in the process,” Alfredsson told reporters on Thursday morning in Ottawa.
“I feel that so far it’s gone according to schedule. I can’t say I’m 100 (per cent) right now, but I’m feeling a lot better.”
Since the surgery, Alfredsson has been doing yoga two or three times a week to help stretch and strengthen his back. He will start with a light skating schedule next week and hopes to join his teammates for some informal skates before the start of training camp.
It’s easy to count out the Senators for next season. When you look at their rather threadbare roster, it’s going to come down to a Jason Spezza and Alfredsson reigniting their old magic, Craig Anderson standing on his head and a whole lot of grinding. Things would be more optimistic if Alfredsson is healthy at the beginning of the regular season, though.
So far, that outlook appears promising.