NHL: Jordan Staal, Chris Pronger, and Other Important Summer Surgeries
We are starting to get close to that time when players start to report to their respective teams for the opening of NHL training camps.
While most have had the summer to relax, see friends and family, travel (while continuing to work out), and keep in shape there are more than a few that have spent this past offseason working hard rehabilitating from summer surgeries.
At the time of writing this article, there were many players who were either injured and required offseason surgery as well as another handful of players who are attempting to come back from long-term injuries.
The quality of players available on this list would be able to assist any team in the NHL and will likely impact their respective teams should they require more IR time. Overall, it seems that mostly everyone is getting healthy earlier than expected, that has to be good news for their respected teams.
Every season It becomes a fact of NHL life, that at some point you're going to require some surgery whether its elective or due to major injury.
Let's not forget some players like Minnesota Wild forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard who is finally symptom free from the effects of a concussion suffered over a year ago. Also players like David Booth from Florida and his ongoing recovery.
Booth is expected to be healthy at the start season. However, a concussion that former Blackhawk Kim Johnsson suffered last season are still plaguing him.
Jordan Staal: Penguins
If you ask my Penguins friends who write on Bleacher Report about Jordan Staal they have nothing but kind words to write about him and his abilities to help the Pens get back to the Stanley Cup Finals.
However, Jordan will likely miss the beginning of training camp this year due to that right foot laceration he suffered during game one of last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs against the upstart Montreal Canadiens.
Although Staal did come back to play in game four of the series, he required surgery for the tendon that was lacerated and in the end that might have led to an infection that he suffered.
It's believed that the infection was the cause in the delay to Jordan's rehabilitation of the injury. Thus not allowing Staal to continue with all of his offseason work outs.
The Pens are hopeful that Jordan will be in the lineup when the Pens open their regular season on October 7th vs the rival Flyers.
Chris Pronger: Flyers
Speaking of the cross-state rivals... Chris Pronger will more than likely miss the beginning of training camp as he had surgery to remove cartilage from his right knee. It's believed that Pronger incurred the injury during game one of last season's playoffs versus the Boston Bruins.
Pronger still led the Flyers in ice-time as they made their way to the Eastern Conference Championship before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals.
There is no time table at this point as to when Pronger will begin to skate again, however he is being monitored day to day.
By adding veteran Sean O'Donnell and separate trades to acquire Matt Walker and Andrej Meszaros, the Flyers look to be willing and able to wait on Pronger and his right knee.
Andrei Markov: Canadiens
Andrei Markov underwent successful right knee surgery on May 14th after he suffered a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) to his right knee during Game One of the last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs versus the Pittsburgh Penguins.
While Markov tried to come back to play, it became obvious that his injury would require season ending surgery.
While the surgery was deemed successful, Markov would still be looking at about six months of recovery time, which would place the veteran All-Star at about early November timeline to return.
Unbelievably Markov was skating on his own 18 days before the start of the Habs training camp which is scheduled to start on September 17. Markov is still being evaluated daily, but hopefully over the next few weeks he can begin to do more and test his knee.
Another interesting note, On July 16 of this year Markov became a Canadian citizen. Markov has retained his Russian passport and has been playing for Montreal since the 2000-01 season.
Alex Burrows: Canucks
After a career year where he posted career high in goals (35), career high in assists (32) and yep you guessed it - career high in points (67), Alexandre Burrows headed into the offseason with a shoulder injury.
Burrows had two labrum tears in his left shoulder and was scheduled for surgery in mid June. His surgery is being called a success as he is about a month ahead of the four to six month rehabilitation time.
He will begin puck handling and shooting exercises and is hopeful to be able to take some contact as training camp progresses.
Burrows will not be rushed through training camp, but the Canucks are hopeful to have his full services sometime in the first few weeks of the season.
Vancouver starts their 2010-11 season at home on Saturday October 9 vs. the Los Angeles Kings.
Craig Rivet: Sabres
Buffalo Sabres captain Craig Rivet is a 15-year professional who is highly regarded by his teammates for his class, dedication, and team first attitude.
Over the course of his career, Rivet has played with many injuries all in the name of leadership and dedication.
After suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the 2009-10 season. Rivet was fitted with a brace and continued "business as usual". As the season wore on, so too did his pain.
Rivet elected for surgery on his sore left shoulder and now is expected to be ready in time for the Sabres' training camp which opens later this week, almost a month ahead of schedule.
A healthy Rivet will certainly help the young Buffalo defenseman continue their development.
Mikko Koivu: Wild
For those who watch a lot of NHL hockey, you already know about the abilities of Mikko Koivu, captain of the Minnesota Wild.
Koivu makes a distinct impact on our list this season because Mikko went through two surgeries this offseason to repair his right shoulder and right knee.
A gifted puck handler who is effective at both ends of the rink, Koivu style of play is one of his most powerful traits that allows him to led by example for this Wild team in transition.
Like Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows, Koivu had surgery in April to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Shortly after that, Koivu had surgery on his right knee which was plaguing him through most of the season and effecting is speed.
Koivu is cleared and ready to report to training camp and looking forward to seeing teammate Pierre-Marc Bouchard return to the team after battling concussion-like symptoms for over a year.
Daniel Alfredsson: Senators
When you think of sports hernia surgery, most of us think of a painful and long recovery period.
But not for Sens' captain Daniel Alfredsson.
After having surgery to repair his sports hernia, Alfredsson was getting back on the ice, almost three weeks earlier that first thought. Alfredsson now feels good enough to start training camp and get back to business.
Alfredsson has been skating for almost four weeks now. Due to the surgery, he found himself skating far earlier this season than most, but from all indication the Sens' captain is looking forward to another season in Canada's capital.
Scottie Upshall: Coyotes
Scottie Upshall is a fire cracker of a player.
He has speed and skill and usually uses both of these assets to torment NHL goaltenders. But a knee injury put Scottie in the bleachers in January, unable to be their on the ice with his Coyotes' teammates as they continued on to a wonderful season after enduring so much earlier on in the 2009-10 season.
At the time of Scottie's injury he was the Coyotes' leading scorer.
Everything seems good after having surgery to repair his torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) and having some extra time to rehab.
We will see how things go as Scottie and Coyotes start the season in Prague, Czech Republic taking on the Boston Bruins on October 9th.
Rostislav Klesla: Blue Jackets
What an offseason Rostislav Klesla has had.
Actually, it's been a rough career if you think about it... Klesla has missed over 100 games out of the Blue Jackets' last 164 games. Not exactly the kind of help Klesla wanted to provide the Blue Jackets.
Last November Klesla was in an awkward collision with St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman. The result was a torn abdominal muscle as well as damage to his groin.
Surgery followed and Klesla endured months of agony and time to reflect. The slow process of healing became tedious. Months after the surgery and rehab, Klesla began the slow process of beginning to skate.
It wouldn't be until mid August that Klesla would begin to see the results of his hard work.
Klesla will be questionable to start training camp, but after what he has been though it shouldn't long for him to return to action to help the Blue Jackets in the 2010-11 season.
Alex Kovalev: Senators
If anyone has ever seen Alex Kovalev play hockey then they are likely aware that he has tremendous hand and can basically stick handle around just about anyone at anytime - provided he wants to.
But when Kovalev torn his ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in the second last game of the Sens regular season, some seemed to doubt if the 37-year-old would be able to make a full recovery by training camp. Kovalev is in the last year of a two year deal worth $10 million.
But after having surgery to repair his left knee, Kovalev skated - briefly at the end of August. Not bad for a procedure that usually takes about 4-6 months to heal.
Although Kovalev might not be 100 percent come training camp time, he isn't that far behind the rest of the team that will be reporting to the Sens main camp on September 17.
If anything, Kovalev will be out to prove he is ready to go whenever he is given the green light.
The Best of The Rest...
Other players who are coming back from off-season surgeries and or long term injuries...
- Pierre-Marc Bouchard - Minnesota - looks symptom free and looking to get back on the ice with teammates.
- Joffrey Lupul - Anaheim - recovering well from an infection in his back from previous surgery.
- David Jones - Colorado - looking to start training camp after tearing his ACL and having surgery.
- Niklas Knonwall - Detroit - resumed skating after having surgery on his left knee. Still no contact as training camp nears.
- Willie Mitchell - Los Angles - suffered concussion in January as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Cleared as training camp is set to begin. Signed as a free agent.
- Cody Hodgson - Vancouver - back problems that seem to continue to plague him. Could be ready for training camp.
- Brooks Orpik - Pittsburgh - continues to recover from sports hernia surgery. Questionable for training camp.
- Sami Salo - Vancouver - Achilles injury. no time table
- Peter Mueller - Colorado - concussion. Looks like he will be re-evaluated at training camp.