VOORHEES, N.J. – Murphy’s Law has taken up residence in the Flyers locker room.
After starting the season 0-3, the Flyers head into what Wayne Simmonds called a “must win” game Thursday against a New York Rangers team that has won eight straight against the Flyers and the team will now be significantly shorthanded up front.
Already without Danny Briere who is recovering from a wrist fracture suffered while playing in ermany during the work stoppage, the Flyers are now going to be without Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn.
Hartnell suffered a foot injury in the third period of Tuesday’s shutout loss in New Jersey when he was hit square on the instep with a slapshot by teammate Kimmo Timonen.
Hartnell was walking very gingerly when he left the locker room and headed for the team bus and did not practice with the team Wednesday afternoon,.
“Scott will be out indefinitely with a left foot injury,” said general manager Paul Holmgren in a statement. “We will know more on this within a day or two as we await results of tests.”
Hartnell has been a durable player for the Flyers over the years and if he is out of the lineup for any extended period, it could be a huge loss for the Flyers.
Adding insult to that injury was the one-game suspension of Schenn for a hit he put on Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the second period of Tuesday’s game.
Schenn came off the bench and skated directly toward Volchenkov and leveled him with a hit as he was passing the puck to a teammate.
NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan determined that Schenn left his feet on purpose to create greater impact on Volchenkov and in doing so, made contact with his head.
Less than a decade ago, hits like these were top 10 on ESPN Sports Center, but now they warrant suspension.
Under the collective bargaining agreement, and based on his average annual salary, Schenn will forfeit $4,702.70. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
These losses really leave the Flyers in the lurch as far as the roster is concerned, but while they would have the option of recalling another forward from the Adirondack Phantoms, that move seems unlikely at this point.
Instead, either Tom Sestito or Jody Shelley - or both – will make their season debuts for the Flyers against New York.
Trying to guess how coach Peter Laviolette will juggle the lineup would be like trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube with one hand – blindfolded, but now the Flyers will need their depth players to step into more profile roles if they expect to get out of an early season hole.
The Flyers have had their share of foot injuries in recent seasons and they have varied in length of time missed.
This season alone, Zac Rinaldo missed one game for the Phantoms after blocking a shot with his foot, but returned a few days later. However Erik Gustafsson did the same for the Phantoms and has been out of the lineup for almost two months.
Former Flyer Jeff Carter missed significant time with bone fractures in both feet, and another former Folyer – Simon Gagne – also missed upwards of a month with a foot fracture.
Hartnell could be a big loss not only because he plays on the top line, but because he is a key cog on the power play, which has struggled with him and would be in worse shape without him.
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