VOORHEES, N.J. – Scott Hartnell had already watched the first two seasons of Homeland and the Flyers’ games in Florida and New York and picked up some books to help pass the time.
And so, he figured, he might as well stop by Skate Zone to catch up with some of his teammates Wednesday afternoon.
He hadn’t seen any of them since undergoing surgery to repair his broken left foot. And, he said, with the way things are going for the 2-5 Flyers, they could probably use a lighthearted visit.
“I tried to have some fun with the guys today,” Hartnell said. “I was getting warmed up. It is just a game. Go out there and have fun. I think that’s one of the biggest things we’re lacking right now – that funness to play the game. I think you can see it on all the guys’ faces.”
Hartnell had surgery Friday. He’s expected to miss at least four to six weeks while he works his way back from the injury, which he sustained in Jan. 22’s loss to the New Jersey Devils. He’s on crutches, wearing a cast and able only to work out his upper body. Staying in shape will be tough.
He’ll return to the doctor in a week – hopefully, he said, to have the cast replaced by a walking boot.
“I’ve had better days,” he said. “It was definitely a lot sorer Friday and Saturday and Sunday, through the weekend. Every day it gets a little less throbby. I had a couple upper-body workouts the last couple days. It’s nice to get out of the house, get to the rink, especially today to see the guys.”
And the guys do miss him on the ice. They’re 5 for 37 on the power play this season (23rd in the league) and are averaging just two goals per game (25th in the NHL). Hartnell had only one assist in the three games he appeared in this season, but led the Flyers in goals (37) and power-play goals (16) last year.
He knows if he were healthy, he could potentially be a difference maker.
“Our penalty kill has let at least a goal or two every game, and our power play hasn’t been as sharp as it was last year and in previous years,” Hartnell said. “That’s kind of what kills me most, too. I had a lot of power-play goals, too, last year.
“It’s frustrating to watch when the shots are coming there, and there might not be someone there. But Simmer’s (Wayne Simmonds) done a great job. It’s not like we’re not getting chances, it’s just whacking that finish right at the end.”
Yes, it's a short season, and yes, he's having a tough time watching his team struggle. But don't expect Hartnell to push it too hard in a rush to return to the ice just because of it. Everything, he said, will be up to the doctor.
“It sucks being at home watching the game and watching the guys play hard,” he said. “It’s probably the worst part about being an athlete, being sidelined and watching on TV or in the stands. It definitely gives you motivation to do the rehab and get back as quickly as you can.”
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