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Penguins' lead doctor no longer traveling with team

| Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, 10:30 p.m.

Dr. Christopher Harner, the Penguins' lead physician, no longer is traveling to road games, general manager Ray Shero confirmed to the Tribune-Review.

Harner, an orthopaedic surgeon, was one of three UPMC physicians who began working with the Penguins medical staff last season. Harner holds the title of head physician, a role held by Dr. Charles “Chip” Burke from 1988-2012.

Shero said Harner has not been fired.

The Penguins brought on Harner, Dr. Tanya Hagen (internal medicine) and Dr. Dharmesh Vyas (orthopaedics) as part of their partnership with UPMC on a hockey facility scheduled to open in Cranberry in summer 2015.

Hagen or Vyas will travel to road games with the Penguins, who are one of only two NHL clubs (Chicago is the other) to take a physician on the road. Vyas accompanied the Penguins on their recent Western Canada trip.

Harner always planned to step back from travel duties in Year 2 of the new arrangement, Shero said, adding he was not sure if the Penguins would designate Hagen or Vyas as head physician.

Harner is a founding member of UPMC's Center for Sports Medicine. Shero said UPMC medical specialists — including concussion experts — are available to injured Penguins players.

Harner still will perform select surgeries for players, including on right winger Pascal Dupuis' right ACL. That tentatively is scheduled for next week.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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