Flyers left winger Simon Gagne will have hernia and abdominal surgery today and will miss six to eight weeks, general manager Paul Holmgren said before last night's game against Tampa Bay.
That means Gagne will miss at least the next 20 games.
Gagne tried to play through discomfort and managed just one goal in nine games before one ultrasound showed he was suffering from two small hernias.
William Meyers will perform the surgery, described by Holmgren as minimally invasive, at Hahnemann University Hospital.
After the 2006-07 season, Gagne has had similar hernia and abdominal surgery performed by a different doctor.
"He had repairs in both of those areas before, so the doctor wants to go through those same incisions – they're just small incisions – and reinforce and strengthen the area," Holmgren said.
Gagne has seen three doctors, one of whom didn't think the hernias were present on the ultrasound.
"After meeting with three doctors and a different opinion on a lot of things, we went right to the bottom [of it] to make sure we were making the right decision for myself, for the team and for the future, to go and do the surgery," Gagne said.
Gagne said that after the surgery, he will "get on a program to make sure those types of injuries don't happen to me anymore."
Asked why the injury has been a recurring one, Holmgren said, "I guess you could say it seems that way, but that's the way it is in all sports . . .. Do they break down over time? I don't know. There are other players in other sports where it hasn't happened. We're going to get in and fix it."
Gagne, who scored 34 goals last season, was disappointed to learn he could miss two months.
"There's never good timing in the season to have surgery, but it's still early in the season," Gagne said. "I'll miss close to two months, and I'll have time to get back in shape and get my game back and feeling 100 percent when I'm skating. That's something I wasn't able to do right now."
Gagne said he would be "ready to have a strong end of the season and be 100 percent ready for the playoffs "
The discomfort, he added, was "something that's been kind of bothering me for a long time, not only this year, but from last season. I think we made the right decision to go ahead and fix everything."
Holmgren said he has no plans to add another player from the AHL Adirondack Phantoms. He said the Flyers would "lean on the guys we've got now. I think that some of our young players have come up – like James [van Riemsdyk] - and have played really well. I think David Laliberte came up and played a good game. We'll see how it goes for a little while."
Danny Briere (quad injury), who missed his second straight game yesterday, hopes to return to practice tomorrow and may play Friday in Buffalo.
"It'll be nice to have Danny back. I don't think that's a long-term thing right now," Holmgren said. "And the other guys just have to pick it up."
Ratings rise. Even though most viewers have been turning their attention to the Phillies, the Flyers are off to a strong start on Comcast SportsNet, delivering a 25 percent ratings increase over the same time last season, according to the network.
In their first eight games televised by Comcast, the Flyers scored a 2.5 rating (74,300 households), up from a 2.0 rating (59,400 households) for the first eight games in 2008.