Flyers Notes: Hartnell avoids serious injury

hartnellusa.jpg

Flyers Notes: Hartnell avoids serious injury

It could have been a lot worse for Scott Hartnell.

This was one time when his signature “#HartnellDown” battle cry on Twitter was far more serious and nothing to joke about.

With 10 minutes left to play in Tuesday’s 2-1 Flyers win over Florida (see story), Panthers’ defenseman Erik Gudbranson ran Hartnell along the right boards.

The Flyers’ left wing fell awkwardly before crumbling to the ice, where he remained motionless for a few moments.

Gudbranson received a five-minute boarding major for the hit, and Hartnell, somehow, got up on his own power and was able to return to the ice for the Flyers’ ensuing power play.

He’s OK, he said, but he’s definitely feeling the hit.

“I was more scared than anything -- I don’t know if ‘scared’ is the right word,” Hartnell said. “But you never want to see a guy go awkwardly into the boards like that. Hasn’t happened to me in a couple years, but yeah, my shoulder’s not feeling that great, more just a little dazed or whatever.”

Schenn’s year?
Brayden Schenn’s contract expires at the end of this season. If ever there were a season for the 22-year-old to prove that he can live up to his much-talked about potential, this is it.

And so far, it seems like Schenn’s received that memo. 

Through four games, the young forward has three points -- two goals, one of which was scored in Tuesday’s win, and an assist.

Is he on his way to a breakout season?

“It’s still early,” Schenn said. “I just want to keep on contributing. Getting the opportunity to play with Vinny Lecavalier and Jake Voracek right now, you’ve got to make the most of those opportunities. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

At least by the numbers, Schenn is off to his best start. Last year, he had just two assists through his first four games and the year before, he had no points at all. In his first NHL experience in 2010-11 with the Kings, Schenn had just two assists in eight games total.

Berube’s choice
Craig Berube’s first game was a success -- a 2-1 win. It was a lot easier than Peter Laviolette’s first game as Flyers coach, which was a rather unforgettable 8-2 penalty-riddled loss to the Capitals.

Dan Carcillo took a penalty that resulted in a record nine-minute power play for the Caps, who torched the Flyers for three goals.

Now, Jay Rosehill took a four-minute double minor and received a 10-minute game misconduct in Berube’s debut that brought back memories of the Carcillo incident. The only difference is, the Flyers survived Rosehill’s.

Regarding Rosehill’s penalty, the officials gave the Flyers a choice of a four-minute, 5-on-4 penalty kill or a two-minute, 5-on-3 kill. Berube chose the 5-on-4.

“That’s kind of weird,” Berube said. “For me, I’ve never seen that before. For me, it was an obvious one -- 5-on-4. I didn’t want to kill a two-minute 5-on-3. It’s tough.”

In that situation, per the 2013-14 NHL rulebook, Table 17, Example 7, the Flyers were given the “choice to play one player short-handed for four minutes or two players short-handed for two minutes.”

The double minor for roughing was assessed as two separate minor penalties, and such results in two separate power-play opportunities. The Panthers’ power play was 0 for 5 on the game.

Machete man
That would be actor Danny Trejo, who was in attendance wearing a Flyers jersey. He’s done some films here -- “Machete” was not one of them.

Anyway, rumor was Trejo threatened to do some surgery on the Flyers if they didn’t win this one for Berube.

Trejo was accompanied by actress Alexa Vega. Both were promoting their next film, “Machete Kills,” which opens Oct. 11.

Guests
United States Army Staff SGT Paul D’Agostin, who currently serves as a Detachment SGT with the United States Army’s Striker Reserves Center in Trenton, N.J., escorted Lauren Hart on the national anthem.

Petty Officer Stanley Maculewicz is in his fifth year of service with the Navy, and just returned home from his first tour of deployment in Afghanistan.

Giroux’s Crew (Club Suite F) honored United States Army 462nd Transportation Battalion stationed out of Trenton, N.J. 

Flyers' poor division record biggest factor in being out of playoff picture

Flyers' poor division record biggest factor in being out of playoff picture

PITTSBURGH -- There's a bit of tragic irony to how the Flyers' season will end over the next two-plus weeks.
 
They have seven games left on the schedule. Six of them are teams residing in the Metro Division. Tuesday's opponent, Ottawa, is the lone exception.
 
There are so many reasons why the Flyers are scrambling now, clinging to the desperate belief they can still make the playoffs -- mathematically, they're alive -- against all rational thought.
 
They're six points behind Boston for the second wild-card spot, but they still have to hurdle Carolina, Tampa Bay and the Islanders just to get to Boston.
 
Yet one major reason for the Flyers' dilemma seems pretty obvious: They've been simply awful in head-to-head play against their own division.
 
The Flyers have a winning record against both divisions in the Western Conference.
 
That's not the case, however, in the East where the Metro Division is the only division with three teams over 100 points and where the Flyers have failed miserably to challenge from within.
 
Sunday's 6-2 rout of the Penguins in Pittsburgh left the Flyers with a poor 9-13-2 record against the Metro. It's the only division they have a losing record against.
 
Last season, Dave Hakstol's group finished 14-10-6 against their own division. That was a critical factor in enabling the Flyers to make the playoffs.
 
"We know where we are in the standings and it's not going to be easy to make the playoffs," Jakub Voracek said. "We all know that. We have to work off results of the other teams and try to play relaxed and loose."
 
Against the Eastern Conference overall, the Flyers are close to .500 (21-22-4) yet realize they should be better.
 
These two records represent a very large reason why the Flyers are sitting on the outside looking in as the playoffs near.
 
Right now, at least four clubs from the Metro -- half the division -- will make the playoffs. That says a lot about why games within your section are so pivotal at season's end.
 
"The numbers don't lie," Hakstol admitted on Sunday. "It's a tough road every single night. You've got to do a good job within your division, within your conference.
 
"We've played a lot of tight, hard games. The reality is, we're a number of points out of the playoffs and those points within your division are very valuable."
 
It's something the Flyers have to greatly improve upon next season if they want to be sitting in a playoff spot a month before the season ends instead of playing catch-up when the odds are hopelessly against them.
 
Pens killers
Every team in the NHL has a couple players who have fairly impressive career numbers against other teams.
 
Voracek averages better than a point against the Penguins. His goal Sunday gave him 17 goals and 34 points in 32 career games against Pittsburgh.
 
Voracek admitted after the game he's not sure why.
 
Claude Giroux also has excellent numbers against the Pens -- his two assists in the win left the Flyers' captain with 41 points (14 goals) in 40 career games vs. Pittsburgh.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere has been around a fraction as long as either Giroux or Voracek -- eight career games vs. the Pens -- yet has two goals and nine points in those games.
 
Brayden Schenn doesn't average a point a game against the Pens, but he's close. His assist on Sunday left the winger/center with 20 points (8 goals) in 26 games.
 
The only Flyer who has solid numbers against Pittsburgh and didn't make Sunday's score sheet was Wayne Simmonds. He has 23 points in 28 games. 

Dave Hakstol: Travis Konecny on 4th line 'makes sense in a lot of respects'

Dave Hakstol: Travis Konecny on 4th line 'makes sense in a lot of respects'

PITTSBURGH -- The curious line juggling of Travis Konecny continued Sunday night.

Flyers coach Dave Hakstol again started Konecny on Pierre-Edouard Bellemare's fourth line with Chris VandeVelde, but just as he did in Columbus, Hakstol moved the rookie around.

This was Konecny's third straight game off Valtteri Filppula's unit with Jakub Voracek at the start. The obvious message to Konecny seems to be: Get yourself into a more defensive-minded role early and then let the offense come to you.

Konecny has made some defensive strides.

"It makes sense in a lot of respects," Hakstol said of the move to Bellemare's unit. "He's playing with two players with a lot of structure. He excels in that type of setting.

"If you look at [Saturday], he can bounce around the lineup with different lines and we used him that way. He didn't just play with his two linemates. He moved around a little bit. He's very effective in that role when we're able to get him out there. He gives us a good boost, a good push."

Against Columbus on Saturday, Konecny played on two units with Sean Couturier -- one featuring Jordan Weal and the other, Dale Weise. He also played a few shifts with Filppula and Wayne Simmonds.

The same thing happened Sunday in the Flyers' 6-2 rout of the Penguins (see game story). Konecny finished with an assist and plus-1 in just 8:02. He is one of the very, very few Flyers who is an even. Most are minus.

Konecny, who just turned 20, and Weal, 24, gave the Flyers a lift on Sunday. Weal had a goal and an assist in 13:06.

"No matter who it is contributing, everyone is excited for everybody," Konecny said. "A lot of guys put up some numbers tonight and contributed. It was a good team effort. That's what we want to see."
 
The Flyers were so relaxed it makes you wonder if the pressure of trying to make the playoffs is gone because their odds are so stacked against them.
 
"We’re at that point where you just need to win and just show up," Konecny said. "There's nerves in the back of your mind. We're pretty loose and trying to enjoy it as much as we can going through a stressful time.
 
"We've handled it well. We played a good team, we knew they would push but we pushed harder."
 
Konecny said he's not fazed by the different line combinations he's a part of, often in the same period.
 
"It's not too bad," he said. "I kind of expected it going into a game. I know when I am playing with Belly and Vandy that throughout the game, there's going to be times like penalty kills come up and he'll fill me in with another line.
 
"At the start of the third [tonight], I filled in another line. I know it's going to come. I just expect it. I've played with pretty much everybody on the team. I'm comfortable out there."
 
Loose pucks
The six goals on the road against Pittsburgh last happened on Feb. 20, 2013, when the Flyers won, 6-5. ... Sunday was the Flyers' largest margin of victory in Pittsburgh since March 31, 2003, when they beat the Penguins, 6-1, at Mellon Arena. ... Weal picked up the second two-point game of his career -- both of which have taken place this month. ... Weise has three goals in his last seven games. ... Claude Giroux had two assists, and now has two goals and eight assists for 10 points in 13 games this month.