More bad news for Flyers

Posted: January 24, 2013

THREE GAMES into the season and the 0-3 Flyers are rapidly approaching rock bottom.

Without even playing a game on Wednesday, Peter Laviolette's squad took two nasty hits. Last year's leading scorer, Scott Hartnell, will be out indefinitely with an injury, and promising forward Brayden Schenn (see below) will serve a one-game suspension Thursday against the Rangers.

Oh, and the Flyers are already without Danny Briere (wrist) and Zac Rinaldo (leg laceration) until at least the weekend.

Thursday will mark only Hartnell's fourth missed game in six seasons as a Flyer - and his first since Jan. 14, 2010. Two games were missed due to suspension and the other was because of flu-like symptoms. This is his first game missed due to injury.

Hartnell injured his left foot with 6:53 remaining against the Devils when he took a Kimmo Timonen slap shot to the skate. Hartnell was trying to screen the Devils' Marty Broduer, in a fruitless effort to spoil Brodeur's 10th career shutout against Philadelphia.

"We will know more on this [injury] within a day or two as we await results of tests," general manager Paul Holmgren said in a statement.

Hartnell's absence will have roster ramifications for Laviolette, beginning with a replacement required on the Flyers' top line with Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.

Unless Hartnell is moved to the injury list, which would require him to sit out at least 7 days, the Flyers do not have room on the roster for a call-up from AHL Adirondack. Holmgren had no word Wednesday night on whether a call-up would be made; the Phantoms were in action in Hartford, Conn. Tom Sestito and Jody Shelley were healthy scratches for each of the first three games this season and could bring needed grit to the lineup if called upon.

The absence of Hartnell, Briere and Rinaldo at the same time could impact the Flyers' upcoming decision on whether to keep rookie Scott Laughton or send him back to the OHL. Laughton, 18, will burn a year off his entry-level contract if he plays a sixth game this season, which could come Sunday in Tampa Bay.

The Flyers are pressed against the NHL's 50-contract limit, which adds a slight roadblock to making a corresponding trade in the near future.

Schenn suspended

NHL vice president of player safety Brendan Shanahan announced Brayden Schenn will be suspended for Thursday night's contest against the Rangers. Schenn, 21, will forfeit $4,702.70 for one day's pay. He left his feet for a hit on New Jersey's Anton Volchenkov with 12:37 left in the second period of Tuesday's loss to the Devils. The Flyers were already trailing, 3-0.

"Schenn launched himself up off the ice into Volchenkov, making contact with his head," Shanahan said in a video explanation, available on Philly.com. "While we understand that momentum or the impact of a hit can cause a player to leave his skates, we do not believe this to be one of those cases."

Schenn made his case for the hit in a hearing with Shanahan over the phone. He had previous history with Volchenkov, since Volchenkov drilled him behind the Devils net last time the two teams met, when New Jersey knocked the Flyers out of the playoffs on May 8, 2012.

"It is what it is," Schenn said. "I'm a little bit surprised, yep. To be honest, I've never been in any sort of suspension situation in junior or at the pro level. It's not a revenge play at all. It's him having his head down and me coming off the bench and seeing that."

In many ways, Schenn was saved by his clean disciplinary record. Repeat offenders, like Washington's Alex Ovechkin (three games) and Phoenix's Raffi Torres (two), received more stringent penalties last season for hits nearly identical to Schenn's. Ovechkin's hit was on Pittsburgh's Zbynek Michalek on Jan. 22, 2012 and Torres drilled Minnesota's Nate Prosser on Dec. 31, 2011.

The Flyers said they would not appeal Schenn's suspension and will have no further comment.


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