Archive | 1:02 PM

Walker On Re-Entry Waivers, McCabe Mum On Intentions

1 Dec

Help might be on the way for the Flyers one way or another. The team put Matt Walker on re-entry waivers on Thursday. In three games with the Flyers, he has one hit and 16 penalty minutes. In 10 games with the Phantoms, he has a goal and an assist. His hefty $1.7 million salary was one of the reasons the Flyers couldn’t afford to keep him on their big-league roster and waived him on Nov. 1.

If another team picks him up, it would only be for half price, or $850,000. The Flyers would be responsible for picking up the tab on the other half and it would also count against the salary cap. It would also count for the remainder of his contract which has one more year left after this season.

The move could mean a number of things. Most pressing is that the team is on the road out west with only six healthy defensemen. That’s dangerous. Two of the blueliners have a combined six games experience. Again with the danger. It could also mean that the Flyers tried to find a trade partner and failed. Paul Holmgren noted on Tuesday that there are others in the league looking for help at that position.

“People I that I talk to, it seems like everybody is looking for a defenseman now,” said Holmgren, “not looking to trade one.”

Mum’s The Word On Bryan McCabe

The Flyers don’t have to necessarily go for a trade, they could look to free agents. Veteran Bryan McCabe is still without a job. The 36-year-old 6-foot-2 blueliner last played for the Florida Panthers and New York Rangers last season. He had a combined seven goals and 21 assists in 67 games.

Some have linked his name to the Flyers, but his agent told Philly Sports Daily he wouldn’t comment on whether the Flyers have reached out to him and said “there isn’t much to talk about,” when asked about what his client’s intentions are of playing in the NHL again or where he would want to play.


Pronger Still Dealing With Effects Of Virus

1 Dec

It’s one thing to have knee surgery, know that an issue has been resolved and have a timeline and clear path to recovery. But Chris Pronger is also dealing with a “virus,” one he says that doctors haven’t been able to figure out yet. That, far more than his fifth documented surgery in 16 months, is scary.

“I just didn’t feel well. I don’t know what it was,” said Pronger in a conference call. “We said it was a virus, but I don’t know what it was. I never felt like that before, where I had headaches and nausea and all the rest of that stuff. I had a concussion test — did the baseline test and passed that. I’ve just never felt like this where you get lightheaded, you have headaches, you’re nauseous and it’s been a bit of a mystery as to what’s going on. I’ve done blood work and we’re trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on.”

He used the past tense, but when further questioned, the 37-year-old admitted he’s still dealing with the effects of his mystery illness that has kept him off the ice since Nov. 19. Somehow, with this illness, he was still able to go under the knife for knee surgery.

“We’re still trying to ascertain what’s going on,” said Pronger. “Like I said, I’ve never felt like this before, so I don’t really know what’s going on.”

According to general manager Paul Holmgren, Pronger is feeling much better than he had been. Apparently, according to Pronger, well enough to begin rehab for his surgically repaired left knee on Friday. He had the same operation on his right knee in the offseason before last season. That kept him out of commission for about nine weeks. This time, the preliminary ballpark is four weeks.

“We just kind of gave a ballpark number, because we don’t really know,” said Pronger.

“There was a little bit more damage in the one a couple years ago. There was some pretty big chunks they took out. It was not as clean as this one was. The doctor was pretty pleased when he got in there to see what was involved.”

Pronger said that this most recent knee issue was something that he noticed weeks ago and eventually realized he couldn’t play through it.

“It’s gradually gotten worse since I had come back from the eye injury,” said Pronger. “When I stopped skating, as I started to work out it started to bother me. I do my daily workouts and try to do legs every other day and what not and it got to the point where I couldn’t do my leg workout, so I knew something was wrong.

“I don’t remember ever getting hit. I don’t remember ever catching it in a rut or doing anything. I’ve got a couple suspicions, but I don’t really know.”

The injuries are piling up for the 37-year-old who called last season “the year from hell.” He’s not quite ready to place the same label on this season, noting that his most recent stretch of bad luck is just a few fluky injuries.

“I get hit with a puck; I broke my foot. I get hit with a puck in the hand and I broke my hand. I get slashed in the face; I hurt my eye. I hurt my knee in the game against Boston in the Stanley Cup playoffs. This one, I don’t really know,” said Pronger. “The only one that was really perplexing was the back. I don’t know how or what happened there and probably never will.

“That’s just one of those things. You look at the number of injuries and it would seem to me that they’re kind of fluky. Three of them, I get hit with a puck or a stick. They’re everyday hockey occurrences. They could happen to anyone.”

Unfortunately, so could a mystery illness. And the fact that no one knows what Pronger’s is yet is more troubling than a few blocked shots and a high stick.

Flyers Turn To Youth To Replace Pronger

1 Dec

It certainly is familiar territory. The Flyers will have to deal with life without Chris Pronger once again. The 37-year-old captain had surgery on Tuesday to remove loose bodies in his left knee and will miss a month of action. It is his fifth documented surgery in 16 months.

Last year, the Flyers had to deal with his absence twice. The first time, they went 9-4-0 without him from Dec. 18 to Jan. 18. Then, down the stretch when the wheels started coming off, they were 6-4-6 to finish the regular season. Then they found themselves down 3-2 in a playoff series before he came back and played all of 4:33 against the Buffalo Sabres in Game 6 — but the Flyers won.

This time around, the fate of the season isn’t in question just yet, but his absence is still troubling. The Flyers are also without Erik Gustafsson and Andreas Lilja; both are on long-term injured reserve along with Pronger.

Marc-Andre Bourdon and Kevin Marshall are currently filling one-third of the Flyers’ defensive corps. They have between them a whopping six games of NHL experience. While they’ve done well in relief, that is still somewhat concerning. The Flyers could use some extra help from another defenseman.

“It’s not like they grow on trees,” said Paul Holmgren on Tuesday. “I’m not sure if anybody has an excess of defensemen right now. People I that I talk to, it seems like everybody is looking for a defenseman now, not looking to trade one.”

The general manager admitted that he’s at least getting on the phone and seeing what is out there. The Flyers have 49 contracts, one shy of the league-mandated limit.

“We’re talking about a lot of things here,” said Holmgren on Monday, when the Flyers announced that Pronger would need the surgery.

It’s unsure exactly what direction they’re going in, but if they make a move it’s almost certainly going to come on the blue line. Despite Internet rumors, the Flyers are probably not in on Cherry Hill, N.J. native Bobby Ryan. The Flyers’ need is on the blue line, not the offensive forefront. Also, Ryan makes $5.1 million. Sure, the Flyers would fit that with whatever package they moved back to Anaheim, but what about when Pronger returns from long-term injured reserve? His $4.91 million cap hit will come back too. Then what?

Even though the Flyers may have some artificial cap relief right now, when Pronger, Gustafsson and Lilja return, money will be a concern once again. If the Flyers opt to go outside the organization for help, it probably won’t be an expensive piece.

Also in the back of Holmgren’s mind is that it’s only December. Yes, Pronger is undoubtedly a huge part of the team and has had trouble staying in the lineup, but the season isn’t even half over yet. It would not be wise to blow up the team just for a potential replacement.

While some bloggers and fans await a blockbuster deal, it is far more likely that the Flyers make a minor move, if any at all. Otherwise, look for Bourdon and Marshall to stay with the team while the Flyers wait it out. After all, it’s not like this is the first time Chris Pronger has been missing in action.