May 112011

Thanks to their chokejob against the Bruins, Flyers players can get a headstart on the offseason, which usually includes multiple trips to the operating room.  On Tuesday, general manager Paul Holmgren confirmed that five Flyers will be undergoing surgery, with three more possibly heading for a date with the knife.

“We seem to have a laundry list like this every year,” Holmgren said, per “I think every team goes through it.”

Captain Mike Richards will undergo surgery today to repair a torn wrist ligament that has bothered him all season.  The surgery was confirmed by Richards himself via his Twitter feed.

“It hasn’t kept him out of the lineup, but it has inhibited his play, certain aspects of his play,” Holmgren said. “I think it affected his performance in the faceoff circle. I think it’s affected his shot to some degree.  I think at some point late in the year that we knew he needed surgery . . . It’s just one of those things that over time, it’s eroded.”

Winger Kris Versteeg, who has been dealing with a sports hernia since probably around mid-March, will need to have that repaired.

“I think Kris played very well,” Holmgren said. “Coming into a team that had established players at each position . . . I was very happy with his play. [The injury] wasn’t a situation that inhibited his play at all. Over the course of time here, it got to the point where it is now.

Center Blair Betts needs surgery on the finger he injured while blocking a shot back in mid-February, which has been a constant bloody mess ever since.

Goaltender Michael Leighton, who basically lost his job early in the season after having surgery on a herniated disc in his back — only to return for an ill-advised start in the playoffs — will need surgery to correct a hip issue.

“When he came back to the team, he played a little bit of the one game, the overtime loss, and I thought he played good,” Holmgren said. “Then he got his chance to start and he didn’t play good. I think Michael’s got to, with the hip surgery he needs, he’s got to be around here all summer, working with our medical staff and our training staff to get that strength and to get ready for training camp. I think he’s probably going to want a job in training camp, too.”

Defenseman Andrej Meszaros will need wrist surgery, though Holmgren did not provide and further details.

Forwards Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter are yet more Flyers dealing with hip issues.  They will soon be undergoing evaluations to determine if surgery is necessary.

“I don’t have access to other teams’ injury lists,” Holmgren said, “but I know there are a lot of guys in the league that have hip issues that need to be taken care of at some point.”

And of coure  there’s Chris Pronger, who will likely need back surgery to repair a herniated disc.  According to Holmgren, the 36 year-old defenseman is currently seeking a second opinion regarding the need for surgery, though it appears almost a definite that it will be required.

Finally, there’s no word on whether Nik “Tin man” Zherdev will be traveling to Oz, though either way it’s likely the unretricted free agent will be taking the yellow brick road right out of Philly.

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