Published November 20, 2014
Philadelphia captain Mike Richards is one of five Flyers facing offseason surgery, a list that could swell to as many as eight depending on medical reports that come in over the next few days.
Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren told reporters Tuesday that Richards played the 2010-11 season with torn ligaments in his wrist.
"Mike's dealt with this wrist injury since training camp," Holmgren said. "It hasn't kept him out of the lineup, but I think it has affected him in his play. It's affected his performance in the faceoff circle and I think it affected his shot."
After posting a career-best 31 goals last season and leading the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Final, Richards slumped this season to just 23, and his success in the faceoff circle slipped from 50.7 percent last season to 49.8 percent this season, and 41.8 percent in the playoffs. In the second round against the Bruins, he won just 20 of 54 draws (37.0 percent) in four games.
Some of Richards' play also could be chalked up to fatigue. He played 81 games this season -- he missed one game due to the flu -- and counting the last two regular seasons and playoffs, plus the 2010 Winter Olympics, Richards played a League-high 204 games. Only teammate Kimmo Timonen and Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith were over 200 in that timeframe.
In addition, forwards Jeff Carter and Scott Hartnell will meet with doctors regarding possible hip surgeries, and Holmgren said he hopes to know soon whether defenseman Chris Pronger will need back surgery. Pronger is dealing with either a herniated or bulging disc in his lower back, which Holmgren said had caused "some diminished leg strength." The latest injury forced him out of the final three games of the conference semifinal against the Boston Bruins.
Holmgren said nothing about Pronger's health has him worried about the 36-year-old defenseman missing time next season.
"We'll get to the bottom of this eventually," Holmgren said, "but none of the information I have so far has been cause for concern for next year."
If Pronger does need surgery, it will be his fourth procedure in the last 10 months -- he had operations on his right knee in August, his right foot in January and his right hand in March. He was limited to just 50 regular-season games, the fewest since 2002-03, when knee and wrist surgeries limited him to five games with the St. Louis Blues.
Pronger also played just three playoff games, totaling 1 assist, a minus-3 rating and four penalty minutes.