VOORHEES – Nolan Patrick doesn’t like to sit, and neither does Carter Hart.
That’s why both were walking around the Flyers’ locker room with smiles on their faces Wednesday morning as they pulled off their equipment.
The two young players, recovering from injuries, took part in a workout at the Skate Zone as the Flyers prepared to face the Washington Capitals in a nationally-televised game this evening.
Patrick was hurt in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the New York Islanders, receiving a five- or six-stitch cut behind his right ear and a headache (but no concussion).
Hart has been sidelined since Feb. 22 after banging his ankle against a goal post during pre-game warm-ups at Montreal the previous night.
According to coach Scott Gordon, Patrick was a game-time decision to play against the Capitals but was a late scratch.
Also, the Flyers still will be without premier forward Jake Voracek, who reportedly was struck by a puck in an awkward spot during Friday night’s 6-3 win at New Jersey and was forced to miss the Islander game, ending his ironman streak at 242 games.
Patrick was close to playing but was held out of this contest. He’s probable for Saturday’s game at the Islanders.
“Him coming out of the game (last) Sunday was more precautionary than anything else,’’ Gordon said. “I don’t want to say his injury wasn’t severe because it was, getting hit in the head with a puck and then getting a cut on top of it. But he felt fine after he got into the locker room. Had a little ringing in his ear but he felt normal.’’
Patrick reported no ill symptoms after practice.
“Felt pretty good,’’ he said. “Obviously morning state is a lot different than a game would be. But we’ll know closer to the game.’’
The shot off his helmet was a very freak play. Patrick’s leg got caught on the leg of an opponent and he went down. As soon as he hit the ice, Cal Clutterbuck’s shot hit him near the right ear opening.
“I’ve never taken a shot off my head,’’ he said. “That’s first time that’s ever happened. (I) was trying to get my blocked shots totals up a little bit.
“It didn’t feel good. Obviously getting a shot in the head hurts.’’
Meanwhile, Hart also was in good spirits. Veteran Brian Elliott has been filling in nicely in Hart’s absence (3-0-1) but it was the rookie who carried the Flyers back into contention, so getting him back soon is also good news for the team.
“He’s out doing the pregame skate so that’s a positive sign,’’ Gordon said. “After that we won’t know anything until he really replicates the action that caused the injury. He’s been staying away from that. We’ll see how he is after the skate today and how close he is to being able to do the things that bother him. We’ll determine where he’s getting close to being ready to do a full practice and play.’’
Gordon is a former goaltender, so he knows all about these types of injuries.
“His foot jammed into the post and that’s a one-shot deal,’’ Gordon said. “Now you just have to wait until it takes care of itself.’’
Hart admits it’s been tough to sit and watch.
“It’s frustrating when you can’t play,’’ Hart said. “You’re watching your teammates battle out there. They’ve been playing good hockey so it’s good to see the guys battling hard.’’
The goalie didn’t appear to be limited in anything he did on the ice.
“I felt pretty good,’’ he said. “Obviously we’re being careful but I felt pretty good out there.’’
Does he have a target date for a return?
“I want to be back as soon as I can,’’ he said.
Hart has had a couple injuries in his career, including minor groin and hamstring problems, but this was a first.
“I felt it there and then it got progressively got worse,’’ said Hart, who participated in the Friday night practice preceding the Stadium Series game against Pittsburgh. “As a goaltender, you’re kind of in that position quite a bit, if there are plays behind the net or along the wall.
“I didn’t really think anything of it. I started feeling it a lot more the next day. We’re taking the right steps here. I’m doing my job to get out there as soon as I can.’’