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A LUCKY RABBIT'S FOOT?

Scott Hartnell will take extra precaution to protect his feet moving forward
Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 1:26 PM ET
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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A LUCKY RABBIT\'S FOOT?

PHILADELPHIA – When Scott Hartnell came back from a fractured foot last season, he decided to wear skate guards to protect his feet for the remainder of the season.

But, old habits die hard, and Hartnell started this season without the guards – a plastic outer shell that surrounds the soft part of a skate boot – once again tempting fate.

Considering what happened in Buffalo Tuesday, he's got to wonder if he's got a little rabbit DNA, because the status of his left foot can only be described as lucky.

Hartnell was again hit on the foot while blocking a shot and was immediately in pain as it caught him just below his left ankle.

He left the ice, not to get checked out, but finally to swallow his macho pride.

“I put [skate guards] on after I blocked the shot last game… how convenient,” Hartnell said. “I think they will stick this time.”

For good?

“Probably, yeah,” he said, before realizing that he would be matching up against Nashville’s Shea Weber tonight. Weber has one of, if not the hardest shots in the NHL. “I’ll definitely be wearing them tonight since I’m a left winger and he’s a right point shot and I’ll be in the lane a couple times on him.”

Hartnell had his foot looked at twice – both after the game in Buffalo and again yesterday back home. The Flyers listed him as day-to-day, but after taking the morning practice it appears he’s good enough to go.

“I felt good on the ice - better than I thought it would,” Hartnell said. “Any time you block a shot it’s going to be sore, but I was a little bit more worried about this one, but I’m ready to go. It feels better in my skate than in my shoe.”

And that’s a good thing for the Flyers, who have been getting strong production out of Hartnell as well as linemates Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds since the trio was put together by coach Craig Berube five weeks ago.

“We weren’t sure yesterday, but the injury could have been a lot worse,” Berube said. “You don’t want to lose anybody for that length of time. That line’s been good so it’s good that he’s ready to go.”

Now that he’s been dinged in his feet a few times and he’s dodged another fracture that would keep him out a longer term, Hartnell has finally seen the error in his ways when it comes to protecting his feet.

“Skates have changed a lot,” Hartnell said. “They’re lighter and softer. Some guys go through pairs every few games because they break down so fast. Guys shoot a lot harder too and when you have softer skates it’s going to lead to more foot injuries. [Wearing skate guards] is a lot like wearing a visor. It’s stupid not to wear a visor with sticks going everywhere and pucks being deflected. I bet in a few years you’ll see a lot more guys wearing [skate guards].”

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NOTES: Although Berube called Steve Downie a game-time decision, it looks like he’ll be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch for two games. Berube reiterated that Downie had gotten away from what makes him an effective player. “To me it was intensity in the game,” Berube said. I talked to him about it. His fight on the puck and his style of play wasn’t there. He says he’s fine so everything’s good. It’s just mental. He needs to play an intense game He needs to be an in-your-face player but play disciplined at the same time.” If he plays, he’ll likely get fourth line right wing duty with Adam Hall and Chris VandeveldeSteve Mason gets the start in goal. He is 16-4-3 in his last 21 starts… The Flyers have had the second best record (20-9-3, 43 points) in the Eastern Conference in the past nine weeks behind only Pittsburgh (23-7-2, 48 points). Only three teams out West have been better as well: Anaheim (23-5-4, 49 points), St. Louis (22-6-3, 47 points) and Chicago (20-6-7, 47 points).

To contact Anthony SanFilippo email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 82 22 59 1 81
C. Giroux 81 25 48 -3 73
M. Streit 81 9 43 -8 52
W. Simmonds 75 28 22 -5 50
B. Schenn 82 18 29 -5 47
S. Couturier 82 15 22 4 37
M. Del Zotto 64 10 22 -5 32
M. Read 80 8 22 -4 30
M. Raffl 67 21 7 6 28
V. Lecavalier 57 8 12 -7 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 18 18 11 .928 2.25
R. Emery 10 11 7 .894 3.06
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