The Flyers 'still making the same mistakes'
Scott Hartnell has missed the last four games with an upper-body injury and is expected to return Saturday night. (USA Today Images)
Four games missed with an apparent rib cage injury seemed like an eternity to Scott Hartnell.
“I hate missing games, it’s not fun,” the left wing, who is expected back in the lineup Saturday against the Islanders in Uniondale, N.Y., said. “It’s frustrating to watch.”
The Flyers lost three of those games.
Hartnell took full practice with projected linemates Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek on Friday.
Coupled with the roster move of sending Tye McGinn back to the Phantoms (see story), that means Hartnell will play.
“I feel pretty good,” Hartnell said. “Since Monday, since I started skating with the guys, I felt stronger and stronger every day. I don’t think there’s any risk to make it any worse out there. Hopefully, I’ll be in the lineup.”
He said nothing would hold him back either, though he’s still lacking in game conditioning.
“It’s amazing,” Hartnell said. “You can do an hour cardio every day for a month. The first time you skate it feels like you haven’t skated in your life. If anyone can invent something to replicate skating stride in a cardio workout, they will probably become millionaires.
“Definitely, the first few times on the ice, I was sucking wind. You push yourself in practice and hope it pays off in a tight hockey game.”
Physically, he seems okay.
“I did some battles with G [Claude Giroux] and taking full contact,” Hartnell said. “My shot, I thought would hurt on a bad one-timer or anything like that.
“Anytime you miss time like that the wind won’t be there. You take short shifts and not put myself in situations where I will re-aggravate it.”
His ice time may need some watching.
“I guess it depends on how he’s doing,” coach Craig Berube said. “If he’s feeling good and looking good, we can keep him going. It depends on what he looks like.”
Hartnell felt bad for McGinn, who is well liked and started out on fire here with three goals in two games, then went without a shot in his next two games.
“He came up last year and came in and played hard, played tough, can fight and played big minutes,” Hartnell said.
“He did the same thing this year. He’s an NHL player, I believe. It is probably frustrating for him I would think. I have not talked to him, but he is going to be a good player in the NHL. He has to stick with it and he’ll get a break.”