PHILADELPHIA – An eye infection sidelined Flyers goaltender Carter Hart for Monday afternoon’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, the second time this season he’s been bothered by this problem.
Backup goaltender Martin Jones was scheduled to make the start, with Kirill Ustimenko serving as backup.
In a pre-game press briefing, interim head coach Mike Yeo said he doesn’t believe Hart’s condition is too serious and indicated the netminder might be available for Tuesday night’s home game against the St. Louis Blues.
“The swelling was obviously a big issue for his vision,’’ Yeo said. “I don’t think it’s a long-term problem.’’
Hart is enjoying a very good bounce-back campaign from last year but in recent games hasn’t quite looked himself.
“I don’t have any concerns about Carter,’’ Yeo said. “One of the really challenging things for a player like Carter is to battle the confidence that’s needed to go out and play aggressive, play his game, to concentrate on what he has to do. If he has the confidence, then other people are going to do their job. The work he’s putting in during practice, the attitude he has, it’s just a matter of getting that good feeling back.’’
Hart has managed to keep his confidence up even though the lineup has been decimated by injuries and illness.
“You look around the league over the course of time, there are teams that are almost easier to play for,’’ Yeo said. “They give their goalie a chance to have success. We’re trying to work toward that. Obviously we still have a lot of guys out and it’s going to be a challenge but by protecting the middle of the ice, by taking away lateral plays, you give your goalie a better chance to have success.’’
>Pride night thoughts
Both Yeo and veteran left wing James van Riemsdyk offered comments on Monday’s Pride Night, which helps bring awareness to diversity issues.
“We’ve all heard the slogan, ‘hockey is for everyone.’ I think if we can get our players involved and leading the campaign as opposed to the league, that does a lot more, says a lot more,’’ Yeo said. “I think it’s great. We all have relatives, friends who are people who will be watching this game and feel good about it.’’
Van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton have been working on some ideas to promote the cause.
“As far as before this sesaon, ‘Laughts’ and I chatted about doing something a little bit more,’’ JVR said, “in the sense of being ambassadors, which is great, but maybe doing something that’s a little more personalized. Just being someone you know who’s going to be outwardly supportive. I think it’s important to show that.’’
Right wing Wade Allison, recovering from a knee sprain, figures to miss about one more week of action.
“He’s very close,’’ Yeo said.
Patrick Brown and Rasmus Ristolainen returned to action on Monday.
>Celebrating Black History Mont Former Flyer forward Donald Brashear was in town and visited the Wells Fargo Center as part of the Flyers and Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation’s celebration of Black History Month.
Brasher, who is Black, gave an on-ice clinic, held a panel discussion for students and also signed autographs in the NHL’s Black Hockey History Mobile Museum.
Before the game, Brashear discussed the importance of raising Black hockey awareness, especially with a young audience in attendance.
“We just want to inspire them,’’ Brashear explained. “Being one of the Black players to play in the NHL, I want to make them understand it’s possible. Often times, we think it’s not. . .we don’t really believe. But if you can put it in their minds that it’s possible — just being there it’s a help.’’
Things appear to be moving in a positive direction. More and more Black youngsters are taking part in clinics like this.
“You certainly see it,’’ Brashear said. “Ten years ago, I probably would have gone to a practice like that and you maybe would have seen five or six (Black) kids. Now most of them are kids of color. That’s certainly awesome to see. That means more and more are believing.’’