PHILADELPHIA – Some things never change.
Throughout their history, the Flyers have had more than their share of problems with injuries – from diagnosing them to treating them to knowing when to allow players the right time to return to the lineup.
A new chapter to this hefty book of questionable information was written over the past few days, culminating with Saturday morning’s announcement that Carter Hart will miss seven to 10 days due to a lower-body injury.
That left more than a few people scratching their heads because Hart looked perfectly fine around 7 o’clock Friday evening when he addressed the media about Saturday’s Flyers-Penguins game at Lincoln Financial Field.
Hart, who learned he was bypassed for the start by Flyers coach Scott Gordon in favor of Brian Elliott, talked about the disappointment of that decision.
But not a word about being injured.
Gordon didn’t know either.
Then, at a 5:30 p.m. pre-game press conference on Saturday, Gordon disclosed the injury took place in pre-game drills before Thursday night’s 5-1 loss to the Canadiens at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“Needless to say, it would have been a lot easier if I had known yesterday that he wasn’t going to play Saturday,’’ Gordon said. “I wouldn’t have had my four-minute conversation with you.
“In pre-game skate in Montreal, that’s when it happened. He tried to fight through it, play the game. We didn’t know about it. He came in yesterday, went through the practice out there and post-practice he saw the doctor and he determined that he was going to be out seven to 10 days.’’
Is there anything alarming about a player, albeit only 20 years old, basically hiding an injury?
Hart was pulled in the Montreal game after giving up three goals on nine shots.
“Carter, to his credit, was trying to fight through it,’’ Gordon said. “It was a little more severe than he thought. And when I look back at the game, forget about the goals, the shot before the third goal, there were a couple of other plays I thought he was a little off on.
“He just didn’t look right to me. So now that might explain it. I didn’t know until eight o’clock last night when I met with (Flyers general manager) Chuck (Fletcher).’’
Gordon said he had not spoken to Hart since he received the information.
“I couldn’t tell if he was favoring the injury,’’ Gordon said. “I don’t necessarily look at just the goals if I’m going to pull a goaltender, it’s more about how he’s handling the rebounds.
“There were a couple rebounds (in Montreal) that I thought were rather awkward. Whether that was on his mind, I don’t know.’’
Does this injury situation with Hart possibly change Fletcher’s outlook for Monday’s NHL trade deadline, if in fact the Flyers appear to be out of contention?
In light of the Hart news, it also was announced that Cam Talbert, acquired in last week’s trade with Edmonton for Anthony Stolarz, will serve as back-up goalie to Elliott.
When Talbot does see some action, it will mark the eighth goalie the Flyers have dressed this season, extending a franchise record.
A total of five have been injured, totaling 101 games.
One thing the Flyers don’t want to do is risk the kid’s health, not turn this into a long-term thing by hurrying him back, as they have done so often in the past.
Fans can only hope this is a minor setback for Hart, who figures in the Flyers’ plans for years to come.
Gordon said he was slightly perplexed by all the contingency plans made in case it rains, including the possibility of deciding a tie/weather-shortened game with a shootout in Pittsburgh on March 17, if weather conditions do not allow for the tie-breaker.
“It’s kind of a unique situation,’’ Gordon said. “Those are the cards you’re dealt with, so just go out and win the game.’’
Corban Knight, who has been down with the Phantoms rehabbing a dislocated collarbone suffered in October, was recalled by the Flyers but was not scheduled to play Saturday night. . .Claude Giroux was scheduled to play in his 800th NHL game.
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