NHL notes: Flyers expect Pronger back

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

The Philadelphia Flyers expect defenceman Chris Pronger to make a full recovery from back surgery.

Dr. Frank Cammisa performed a discectomy Thursday in New York on Pronger.

"A disc fragment that was pressing up against a nerve was removed," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "Chris will begin a walking rehab in a few days."

Pronger, 36, played in just 50 regular-season games and three of 11 playoff games because of various ailments.

Two other Flyers also have had surgery this week: Forward Kris Versteeg, to repair two tears in his abdominal wall; and goaltender Michael Leighton to repair a torn labrum.

Atlanta abandoned?

Is the NHL abandoning the Atlanta Thrashers after rescuing other teams?

That is what Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is wondering after a question-and-answer session Thursday with deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

The money-losing Thrashers are for sale but, unlike the situation with the Phoenix Coyotes the NHL isn't going to any great lengths to keep the team in Atlanta.

"Has Gary Bettman, the commissioner, stood at a pulpit on the corner of Marietta and Centennial Olympic Park Drive the way he did in the desert outpost of Glendale, Ariz., and screamed for hockey's existence in Atlanta (especially given this is a top 10 TV market and Phoenix isn't)?" Schultz wrote.

"Atlanta seemingly is in the midst of being dumped on and abandoned by the NHL."

Schultz asked Daly Thursday if he could guarantee the Thrashers would be in Atlanta next season.

"Nope. I can't guarantee that," Daly said.

Asked if the Thrashers have held negotiations with True North about moving the team to Winnipeg, Daly said, "I wouldn't comment on that."

Frolov heading home

Left winger Alexander Frolov, after a poor season with the New York Rangers, has signed a three-year deal with Avangard Omsk, the Kontinental Hockey League team has announced.

Frolov, 28, had just seven goals and nine assists in 43 games with the Rangers before injuring his right knee and undergoing surgery.

The Moscow native had some success in five previous seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. His best was 2005-06, when he had 35 goals and 36 assists.

No clearance for Crosby

Sidney Crosby has not has not resumed working out since suffering a setback last month in his post-concussion recovery.

Crosby's agent, Pat Brisson, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Thursday that Crosby "hasn't been cleared yet by the medical staff."

Crosby was diagnosed with a concussion Jan. 6.

Pension windfall

The Ontario Teachers' Pension Fund stands to make a fair bit of pocket change when it sells its majority stake in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors and the Air Canada Centre, according to a report Thursday.

Forbes magazine reports that an anonymous sports banker familiar with the discussions says it is highly likely Bell Canada and Rogers Communications will duke it out to acquire MLSEL for as much as $2.25 billion.

The magazine values the Maple Leafs at $505 million and the Raptors at $399 million.

The Teachers' Fund is in the process of buying TD Capital's 13.46% stake in the company, which would raise its ownership to about 80%. The remaining stake is held by Chairman Larry Tanenbaum's Kilmer Sports holding company.

Teachers' said that by consolidating its stake with the TD purchase it streamlines the process of selling MLSEL.


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