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Penguins name new team doctor

| Friday, July 20, 2012, 5:12 p.m.

The Penguins named Dr. Christopher Harner as their lead physician, the signature move in an overhaul of the franchise's medical staff.

Harner, an orthopedic surgeon, is replacing Dr. Charles Burke, who was dismissed July 10. Burke had been the head team doctor since 1988.

Harner is one of the founders of UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and will be joined by two specialists — Dr. Tanya Hagen (associate team physician) and Dr. Dharmesh Vyas (assistant team physician) — in overseeing the Penguins. Hagen specializes in internal medicine, Vyas in orthopedic surgery.

The Penguins will have access to more than 15 UPMC specialists as part of the medical staff changes.

UPMC and the Penguins have agreed to construct a practice facility in Cranberry and are awaiting approval from township officials.

One of the Penguins' three lead physicians will accompany the team on the road. The Chicago Blackhawks currently are the only NHL team to travel with their own doctor.

Burke, 57, who oversaw center Sidney Crosby's concussion treatment and Mario Lemieux's career-long back problems, told the Tribune-Review on Thursday night he was informed July 10 that he and the team's medical staff were being dismissed.

The Penguins will retain trainer Chris Stewart, assistant trainer Scott Adams and strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.

Penguins CEO David Morehouse, who could not be reached for comment, said in a prepared statement that Burke “has been such an integral part of the medical team over the past 24 years.”

Josh Yohe is a reporter for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jyohe@tribweb.com.

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