It was lonely for Scott Hartnell, usually an outspoken character who enjoys an audience, skating alone. Rehabbing his broken left foot while the Flyers were on a season-long six-game roadtrip, Hartnell had the sheet of ice all to himself.
Now that the roadtrip is over, completed with back-to-back wins against the division opponent New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, the All-Star left wing has some company on the ice.
“It felt great,” Hartnell said. “The guys were on the road last week. I missed them. I had to get out there. It felt not-too-bad. Still a little rusty, my foot’s not 100 percent yet. I’m just waiting for the date to say that I’m ready to go.”
Hartnell was on the ice for nearly two hours Thursday, first skating with the Adirondack Phantoms, who play at Wells Fargo Center Friday night, then with the Flyers’ scratches.
Hartnell is about a week away from returning, according to general manager Paul Holmgren. Hartnell stopped at the Flyers’ bench at one point during his skate with the scratches to chat with the GM.
“I think that’s probably about right,” Hartnell said. “We talked a little bit about the scheduling and trying to get in a couple practices before I actually do play. It’s different practice as compared to games. I’ve played quite a few games in the NHL so it’s not about being rusty and making mistakes. It’s about feeling comfortable out there in my skates and on the ice.”
Considering the style he plays, Hartnell puts a big emphasis on getting some contact in during practice before he returns to game action.
“My game is not a perimeter game,” Hartnell said. “I go right to the hard areas — the corners, the front of the net. Having someone cross-check you trying to get you out of the front of the net and trying to stay stable and get my stick on the puck, that’s gonna be a big part of the practice tomorrow and moving forward.”
The good news for the Flyers is that Hartnell appears to be ahead of schedule. Despite the recent anomoly of 13 goals in the last two games, offense has been hard to come by.
Hartnell eager to practice with contact
Courier-Post | Feb 21