Tag:Paul Holmgren
Posted on: December 9, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 2:45 pm
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Pronger, Schenn out with concussion symptoms

By: Adam Gretz

At this point, Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger is pretty much a one-man M*A*S*H unit.

Currently sidelined for the next few weeks after having surgery on his knee, which came after he missed a couple of weeks after taking a stick in the eye, and was then out with what the Flyers called a "virus," it was reported on Friday that the veteran defenseman is also suffering from concussion-like symptoms.
More Chris Pronger Injuries

It's entirely possible, if not likely, that the "virus" had something to do with the concussion symptoms he's currently experiencing.

"While Chris' knee is improving, he has struggled with other issues that are concussion-like symptoms," said general manager Paul Holmgren in a team statement. "Chris will see Dr. Joe Maroon and Dr. Mickey Collins on Wednesday, December 14th in Pittsburgh for further evaluation. Chris will be out indefinetly."

Dr. Mickey Collins, of course, is the same doctor that Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby has been seeing over the past year.

Pronger isn't the only player on the Flyers currently dealing with concussion symptoms, as Holmgren also announced that forward Brayden Schenn will also be out indefinitely with a mild concussion. Said Holmgren in the same statement, "Brayden reported 'not feeling himself' on December 5th. Our doctors believe he has a mild concussion."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:16 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Penguins to face old friends without Crosby

jagrsmile

By: Adam Gretz


One of the most anticipated matchups of the regular season finally takes place on Thursday night as cross-state rivals Pittsburgh and Philadelphia face off at the Wells Fargo Center. These games are always a highlight of both team's schedules, and usually involve some level of on-ice chaos.

This time around, it's the first meeting between the two teams since the Flyers' dip into the free agency pool over the summer that included their signings of former Penguins Jaromir Jagr and Max Talbot.

Talbot was a playoff hero for the Penguins in recent years, scoring two goals in their Game 7 win over the Detroit Red Wings in 2009, helping the team claim its third Stanley Cup title. There was also his famous silencing of the crowd in Philadelphia earlier that postseason following his fight with Daniel Carcillo in a Game 6 series clinching win.

And the there's the Jagr angle. He is still the second greatest player in franchise history, and a large part of the first two championships the team won in the early 90s, and all of that is going to get overshadowed for the foreseaable future, or at least as long as he wears the Flyers orange and black, because of what happened over the summer.

By now, you're probably already familiar with how it all went down, but if you're not, a quick refresher: After spending three years playing in the KHL, Jagr was ready to make a return to the NHL and the Penguins were one of the teams interested. What followed was a highly publicized free agency courtship between them and the Detroit Red Wings, before both teams ultimately backed out of the bidding with Jagr signing a one-year pact with Pittsburgh's fiercest rival, essentially burning every bridge that wasn't already burned when he asked for a trade out of Pittsburgh 10 years ago.

And with that, the stage is set for Thursday night, even if it seems to mean more to the fans of the two teams (especially the Penguins fans) than it does for the players on the ice.

Three talking points heading into Thursday's game:

1) Matchup with Jagr more for Penguins fans than Penguins players: Regarding the Penguins' first meeting with Jagr since his signing with Philadelphia, defenseman Brooks Orpik said, via Josh Yohe of the Tribune-Review, "I think this whole thing is more for the fans. I've been here the longest of anyone, and I've never played with him. Had one training camp with him — that was it."

And that's probably accurate. When Jagr last suited up for the Penguins, players like Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and James Neal were all under the age of 14. Defenseman Simon Despres would have been 10 years old, and none of the players on the roster played a single game with him in the NHL.

After they missed out on Jagr, the Penguins ended up signing veteran forward Steve Sullivan who has spent most of this season playing on a line with James Neal and Evgeni Malkin. He hasn't been Jagr, but he's been solid with 12 points in 28 games.
More On Penguins-Flyers

2) With Jagr, the Flyers can still score ... a lot: Two months into the season and Jagr has proven he can still play at a high level, even at the age of 39, averaging a point-per-game with nine goals and 13 assists in his first 22 games this season, playing mostly on a line with the NHL's current leading scorer, Claude Giroux. The additions of Jagr and Talbot were part of a summer-long re-tooling by Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, and while it seemed that goaltending would finally become a strength (or at least, no longer be a glaring weakness) with the addition of Ilya Bryzgalov from the Phoenix Coyotes, it's the offense that's continued to carry the Flyers, even in the absence of defenseman Chris Pronger.

The Flyers, at this point, have silenced any doubt as to whether or not they have enough offense following the losses of Mike Richards, Jeff Carter and Ville Leino to compete for a top spot in the East, currently putting the highest-scoring team in the NHL out on the ice. Giroux has been everything the Flyers could have hoped that he would be at their top-scoring option, while rookies Matt Read and Sean Couturier have played large roles.

3) Sidney Crosby Isn't Playing And Nobody Knows Why: When the Penguins announced on Wednesday that Sidney Crosby will miss the next two games (including Thursday's game in Philadelphia) it was assumed that it was a result of his center ice collision with teammate Chris Kunitz. And while that wouldn't have been good news, it would have been better than worrying about whether or not it was a head injury. But that may not be the case. As Mike Colligan of the Hockey Writers pointed out on Thursday, Crosby took several hits during what was an extremely physical game with the Boston Bruins on Monday, including an elbow from David Krejci (poor video quality by clicking here). Because the Penguins were so vague with their description, saying only that he "took a hard hit," and because NHL teams guard injury information like it's gold in Fort Knox, we're left to guess as to which play has him sidelined "as a precaution."

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:15 pm
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Posted on: November 28, 2011 1:23 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 1:27 pm
 

Pronger will miss 4 weeks with knee injury

By: Adam Gretz

Chris Pronger hasn't appeared in a game for the Philadelphia Flyers since Nov. 19, having missed each of the team's past four games with what was originally described as an illness.

On Monday, general Paul Holmgren announced that Pronger will now be on the shelf for the next four weeks after undergoing surgery on his left knee on Tuesday afternoon to "clean out some loose particles that have given Chris some problems over the last month or so."

Said Holmgren, "We were hopeful that the time missed with a virus that Chris has been fighting would settle things down in his knee, but after an examination yesterday, it was decided that the surgery is the way to go at this time. We expect Chris will be back playing in four weeks.”

Injuries have been an issue for the veteran defenseman over the past two seasons. He appeared in just 50 games for the Flyers last season, and he's already missed time this season due to an eye injury that came after he was struck in the face by a stick. He's played in 13 games this season, scoring one goal to go with 11 assists while also logging over 22 minutes of ice-time per game.

Given his age (he's currently 37) and the mounting injury problems it's worth pointing out that he still has five years remaining on a seven-year contract that he signed prior to the 2010-11 season that carries an average annual salary of $4.9 million against the salary cap.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 15, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 3:55 pm
 

Protection of goalies hot topic at GM meetings

By Brian Stubits

What better time than after the Hall of Fame ceremony for the GMs to gather and discuss the issues of the day? After all, most of them are already in town for the festivities anyway.

The item on the morning agenda of the meetings? It truly was the top issue of the day: goaltender safety. Spurred by the Milan Lucic hit on Ryan Miller, the rules regarding goaltenders outside the crease have been a hot topic. While the rulebook clearly states a goalie is not fair game anywhere on the ice, it has been a muddy conversation.

From the sounds of Blues GM Doug Armstrong, it was more a matter of clarification than anything else for the GMs.

“Just want to make sure that we’re all on the same page, that when they’re out on the open ice, that they’re going to be protected,” Armstrong said. “We do want continued play in front of the net, but we want to make sure that when they’re outside the [blue] ice, that they’re protected.”

The best way that people are describing the protection of goaltenders is to draw the parallel to football and the quarterback. In football, the QB has become like an endangered species, seemingly any affront to his safety has been squashed. Drives a QB into the ground after a pass? Personal foul. Same goes for when a scrambling QB slides to the ground.

“In my opinion, I think we have to [protect goalies like QBs],” Penguins GM Ray Shero said. “I’m not talking about plays around the crease, because there will be incidental contact ... We’re talking about a regular season game, we’re talking about the incident with Lucic and Ryan Miller. You get into a playoff series and if these guys are going to be coming out to play pucks, and you can run them over and get a two-minute penalty, then I think you’re going to open up a pretty dangerous set of circumstances.

“Several of the general managers just brought up the fact there’s only 60 goaltenders in the league, and we have to be pretty careful in terms of, if they’re going to play puck outside the crease, what should be fair,” Shero said. “We’ll continue to look at it, and probably talk about it much more at the March meeting, as well.”

Is it a bit reactionary? Of course. The Lucic/Miller incident is fresh and was pretty uncommon. But the reactions after the hit proved the need for some clarification on the matter, even if it was as simple as getting rule 69.4 spread around for everybody to see.

This is where Brendan Shanahan's decision not to suspend Lucic, for the hit comes into play a bit. Many, myself included, believed that if nothing else a token suspension was called for against Lucic, something to make it clear that goalies can't be run over. But Shanahan believed Lucic did not intend to hit Miller and that it was more of an unfortunate collision. He reiterated the point to the GMs that goalies will be protected and offenders could still be suspended. From Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com:

"Shanahan told GMs that players should NOT read into Lucic ruling that goalies are fair game. Quite the opposite, Shanahan warned GMs."

The GMs don't want to see more incidents like it and want to nip it in the bud now before frontier justice like that alluded by Sabres coach Lindy Ruff knocks another goaltender out for a period of time. I believe for most GMs it's a matter of self-preservation if anything else (in this case self being their team's interests).

“That’s going to be the message to our team -- the goalies are not fair game,” Shero said. “If the guy’s going to play it outside the crease, you have to be pretty careful.”

Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I believe the root of that statement from Shero comes out of the fear of losing Marc-Andre Fleury for some time.

As for rest of the meetings, also on the schedule was the 1-3-1 trap that caused such a stir last week after the bizarre scene between the Flyers and Lightning which led to a stalemate. To that, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman gave a reasonable response, saying they don't want to overreact to something that has only happened once. Perhaps Flyers GM Paul Holmgren put it best: "I'd like to see us attack the situation a little bit differently than we did last game."

The other big item on the docket was realignment, something Flyers chairman Ed Snider brought up again in Toronto. But right now that's all just chatter among the GMs. The decision on realignment will made at the Board of Governors meeting in December.

All of these conversations and more will get hashed out again in March the next time the GMs gather.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Flyers extend Braydon Coburn for four years, $18M

By Brian Stubits

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed another one of their young players to an extension, reportedly agreeing with Braydon Coburn to a new four-year deal worth $18 million. This according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia.

So if those figures are facts, that would be $4.5 million annually to Coburn, a solid young defenseman. He logs a lot of minutes and really has potential to be a shutdown defenseman for many years.

Offensively speaking, he does not produce much in the way of points at all. Now in his seventh season in the league, the 26-year-old has 26 career goals. This season his only points to speak of are three assists.

It sort of makes you recoil at first, doesn't it? It seems to be along the lines of GM Paul Holmgren's contract with James van Riemsdyk he signed a short while ago, giving the up-and-comer a six-year contract for $25.5 million. It seemed -- and still does -- like an awfully generous contract from Holmgren to his player. Compared to similar players in age like Logan Couture, whose most recent deal pays him $2.875 million per season.

But considering that Coburn was making $3.2 million annually on his existing deal and was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, you see perhaps where Holmgren was coming from. Obviously he had to up the ante a touch if he wanted to lock Coburn in and take away the player's ability to test the open market.

Then you realize when you start to play the contemporary game with Coburn that a guy like Keith Ballard is making $4.2 million with the Canucks and Mike Komisarek $4.5 million with the Maple Leafs. It makes the matter just that much easier to digest.

Really, the rate for shutdown defensemen is going up by the year. Of course, you could probably say that about every position except the enforcer, but the point stands. Guys who are strong in their own end are valued players, Coburn would have likely received a contract similar to this in salary as a free agent.

Of course it means that Philly will again be working under a cap crunch this offseason, especially if the cap comes down in the next CBA.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 1:46 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 3:28 pm
 

Flyers rookie Schenn breaks foot, out 4-6 weeks

By Brian Stubits

Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced on Thursday that one of the team's top prospects, Brayden Schenn, has a broken foot that will obviously keep him out of the lineup.

"Brayden Schenn suffered a broken left foot in the game last night. He will be out of action for 4 – 6 weeks," the team relayed from Holmgren on its Twitter account.

A short while after the announcement, the Flyers recalled Zac Rinaldo and Erik Gustafsson.

It's a bad ... um ... break for Schenn, who entered the season as the favorite for many to win the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. The prized prospect was picked up by the Flyers in the trade for Mike Richards to the Kings, which also landed Philadelphia Wayne Simmonds.

He didn't actually begin the season with the Flyers as he dealt with a minor shoulder issue, but he was recalled and played in four games. He has averaged 14:52 of ice time while failing to pick up a point and posting a minus-5. He did get the chance to go against his brother Luke Schenn of the Maple Leafs in that time as well.

Schenn apparently suffered the broken foot against the Canadiens when blocking a shot from defenseman P.K. Subban. In true hockey-player fashion, Schenn played the remainder of the game, but was seen with a noticeable limp afterward.

The injury comes on the heels of team captain Chris Pronger going down for a couple of weeks after taking a stick to the eye.

Schenn is one of four rookies the Flyers have been playing this season, joining Rinaldo, somewhat surprising Calder candidate Matt Read and the team's top pick in last summer's draft Sean Couturier.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 26, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2011 10:28 am
 

Eric Lindros confirms spot as Winter Classic alum

By Brian Stubits

Former Flyers star Eric Lindros told a Toronto radio station on Wednesday that he will take part in the Winter Classic Alumni Game, ending the speculation if he would or not.

"Yeah, Paul Holmgren gave me a shout about a month and a half ago, and we talked back and forth a little bit," Lindros told Greg Brady and Jim Lang on the Fan 590 in Toronto. "I was real happy to hear his voice and to get the invitation and yeah, I told him a while back that I’d fly down and have some fun.

"I haven’t seen Johnny [John LeClair] in a little while. I know they’re trying to get in touch with Mikael [Renberg], I've been trying myself."

Of course Renberg and LeClair made up the other 2/3 of the Legion of Doom line in Philadelphia. (Side note: It makes me sad to see how old footage from the 1990s looks now.)

That line was so good it totaled 176 points in just 48 games of the strike-shortened 1994-95 season.

The hope is that they will all be back for the game. Lindros confirmed what most assumed considering LeClair still lives in the Philly area, that one of his linemates will join him. As for Renberg, well they are still awaiting word there. But you have to assume they'll get him on the ice, right? You can't bring back only a part of the line, you have to bring it all back. It's like Led Zeppelin going on tour without Robert Plant, at that point it's just some really good guys in a band.

More good news for the Flyers fans? Holmgren tells Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com that the old LCB line will be back, too.

“That’s the plan, though: to have Eric’s line back together, as well as [Bobby Clarke]’s line with [Reggie] Leach and [Bill] Barber and other famous lines in Flyers history,” said Holmgren.

The rumor mill has it that the Rangers are trying to get Wayne Gretzky to play on their alumni team, but no answer as of yet. If he does sign up, I wonder how fans are going to like that ticket policy for the Winter Classic then?

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com