Absence Makes Hartsy Grow Fonder
VOORHEES, N.J. – Scott Hartnell cleared up a little bit of misinformation Wednesday, although he didn’t really want to.
The shot that fractured the first metatarsal in his left foot was not taken by Kimmo Timonen, as has been unanimously reported.
“It actually happened in the second period of that game [in New Jersey],” Hartnell said. “One of the Devils’ defensemen took a shot and I blocked it with my foot and by the way it felt, I knew something was wrong.
“At the intermission, I took my skate off to have [trainer] Jimmy [McCrossin] look at it, and when I went to take a step, it hurt so much I fell to the floor in the locker room.”
Hartnell said an x-ray was taken in New Jersey, and it came back negative, so he went back on the ice for the third period thinking it was a bad bone bruise.
“Then Kimmo takes a shot and hit the same exact spot,” Hartnell said. “That’s why I went down so quick. It was really painful. So, it wasn’t his shot that fractured the bone, but I like blaming him anyway.”
|Scott Hartnell shares a laugh, which is about all he can do for now, while elevating his fractured foot. (Photo courtesy of Zack Hll, Flyer P.R.)|
Hartnell said despite the x-ray results from New Jersey, he knew there was a fracture from past experience.
“This happened to me in Nashville,” he said. “It was the same thing. I blocked a shot, the x-ray was negative, and I actually went out and played the next two games.
“Then, before the start of the third game, we were doing our soccer ball warmup and I planted on the foot and the bone just snapped.”
The day after the Devils game, Hartnell couldn’t put his foot on the floor without feeling pain. He couldn’t go up or down steps. Another x-ray was taken and this time, the fracture was there. Surgery would be needed. Ten days in a cast and on crutches. Another month or more to slowly rehab and get back on the ice.
“It’s part of the game,” he said exasperatedly. “It’s frustrating that it had to happen to me right at the start of the short season. It’s almost like a whole year that I haven’t played in a game. It’s a shame because I was starting to feel a little bit better on the ice and getting my timing and reading plays. Nothing like getting set back another month. The hardest part has been having to just sit back and watch the rest of the guys play.”
And watching them play has only added to Hartnell’s frustration. He sees the offense laboring to score. He sees linemate Claude Giroux getting more embittered with each game not having his reliable left-handed winger to catch that first pass into the offensive zone or creating space for him, as teams are now swarming Giroux and daring the other players on the ice to beat them.
And maybe more than anything else, he can only sit and wonder how he could help the Flyers stymied power play unit.
“Last year I had a lot of power play goals,” Hartnell said. “Being in front and causing havoc – everyone has their roles on the power play and everyone is just as important as everyone else and we really had it going almost the whole year and in the playoffs. Then you watch the game on T.V. – and I haven’t really watched many games over the past six years – but it seems easier when you watch on T.V. I find myself talking out loud saying, ‘Why didn’t you do this,’ or ‘What a play that was.’ You remove yourself from being out there and it’s tough.”
Hartnell is certainly antsy though, and he wants to get back as soon as possible. He said that as soon as he gets the go-ahead from the docs to start rehabbing, he’s going to do it in earnest as he tries to make it back closer to the four-week end of the timetable than the six-week end.
He also added that he will wear skate guards over his skates, something he’s not thrilled about, but understands that he’ll have to for the remainder of the season.
He said that they are tough to get used to because they stick out just enough off the skate boot to force players to change the way they’ve skated their entire lives.
“If I get used to it I guess I’ll continue to wear it,” he said. “When you’re crossing over you’re adding an extra half-inch to an inch on your skates and it’s an adjustment when you’ve crossed over a certain way since you were a kid. But, you have to get used to it. You have to find a way.”
Right now though, the only thing Hartnell is worried about ‘finding a way’ about is the one that will get him back in the Flyers lineup the quickest.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37