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.
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.
Here are two bits of Pittsburgh Penguins news from today.
(Feel free to insert your “Free candy in two months” jokes as necessary now.)
Orpik’s role with Pittsburgh is clear: hit people and play responsibly in his own end. He lead the team in hits with 194 in an injury-shortened 2010-11 season and was even further head of the rest of squad with 255 in 09-10.
This link contains a lengthier video of Malkin going through drills with strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar in Moscow, but the highlight of the video revolves around the Russian star showing off his ridiculous hand-eye coordination. It reminds me a bit of an old Tiger Woods commercial in which he shows off similar skills. If nothing else, it proves that Sidney Crosby isn’t the only Penguins forward whose skills are worthy of hockey trick videos.