VOORHEES – For the second time in four days, the Flyers have had a player go out of commission, with no explanation about his health status forthcoming.
No. 1 goaltender Carter Hart moved slowly off the ice and walked into the Flyers’ locker room early in Tuesday’s scrimmage.
There was no visible sign of immediate treatment by the Flyers’ medical staff while Hart was within the confines of the rink.
Following NHL protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Flyers chose to withhold any information about Hart’s status, just as they did Saturday when Jake Voracek missed a scrimmage because of the need for a COVID-19 re-test (which was negative).
When Voracek was out, the Flyers simply used the line “unable to participate.’’ If Hart can’t partake in Wednesday’s practice, they could go with something like “unfit to participate.’’
Neither general manager Chuck Fletcher nor head coach Alain Vigneault made themselves available for comment.
Assistant coach Ian Laperriere was made available but declined to comment.
The 21-year-old Hart, who is expected to get most of the work when the Flyers open postseason play in Toronto on Aug. 2, has had some injury problems in the past, including two seasons ago when an ankle problem kept him out of the Stadium Series game against Pittsburgh.
Kevin Hayes, who scored a hat trick for the losing Team B in a 7-6 setback to Team A at the Skate Zone, said he doesn’t believe Hart’s situation is too serious.
“I didn’t see what happened,’’ Hayes said. “I didn’t even realize he left until someone on the bench said it. I think it’s nothing too serious.
“Obviously it’s important to get in shape and get game ready, but if you have something that’s minor that you don’t want to push, it’s not a big deal to get off the ice like that. We’d rather have him be at 100 percent than pushing hard at 85, 90 percent. Probably a smart decision by him. I don’t think it’s anything major.’’
Similar comments were made by Morgan Frost and Shayne Gostisbehere.
“Honestly I didn’t even see him get off at first so I wasn’t sure,’’ Frost said. “I didn’t see what happened. Hartsy’s really good at taking care of his body. He stays on the ball with that stuff. I’m kind of in the other locker room here. I kind of don’t know exactly what’s going on, but I hope he’s okay. He’s obviously a big part of the team.’’
Added Gostisbehere: “I didn’t even notice he got off the ice to be honest, but I’m sure he’s fine. We’ll see. I haven’t really seen him either.’’
>Couturier looks sharp
Sean Couturier, who was named a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy (best defensive forward), looked particularly sharp in Tuesday’s scrimmage. If the playoffs started tomorrow, it looks like he would be ready to go.
“He’s got the quality about him,’’ Laperriere said. “He’s committed to the game. You see that in the Crosbys and McDavids of this world, every summer, every training camp they come back better because they did work over the summer.
“Coots has that quality in him. Right away, he could have been a good defensive player when he came in as a 19-year-old. He could have had a pretty good career, but he wasn’t satisfied. A guy who’s passionate about the game, committed to the game, they are never satisfied. He works on the other aspects of his game. That’s why he’s the player he is today and why he’s nominated for a Selke. I hate to use that word, perfect player, but he’s the closest thing you’ll find. There’s no cheat in his game. You know what’s great about Coots, he’s a great example for the young guys like Frost and (Joel) Farabee, just to look at him, see what he does on and off the ice. He’s one of our leaders for a reason.’’
The Flyers-Tampa Bay round robin game, originally scheduled for Aug. 9, has been moved up to Aug. 8. Also, the starting time for the Flyers-Pittsburgh preseason game is now 4 p.m.