Injured Scott Hartnell feels the Flyers' pain

"You see the sticks on the ground after a missed pass," says Scott Hartnell, who visited practice. MARC NARDUCCI / Staff
"You see the sticks on the ground after a missed pass," says Scott Hartnell, who visited practice. MARC NARDUCCI / Staff
Posted: February 01, 2013

Watching the Flyers from afar (his couch), injured winger Scott Hartnell says he can sense the frustration of his teammates through his television set.

Hartnell, who is out four to six weeks after surgery on his broken left foot, was a visitor at practice Wednesday, and he tried to supply encouraging words to his teammates.

It's not easy to be upbeat when the team is 2-5 and has struggled on the power play. Entering Wednesday, the Flyers were 23d in the NHL in power-play percentage. They have scored five power-play goals in 37 chances (13.5 percent).

Hartnell said he could sense the dejection just watching the games.

"What you see almost through everybody is the frustration," Hartnell said. "I know you can't have much fun when you are not winning and scoring goals, but you see the sticks on the ground after a missed pass."

So Hartnell tried to lighten the load.

"I tried to have fun with the guys today," he said.

That said, Hartnell can understand the frustration because he is experiencing it himself, especially when he watches the power play.

"The worst part of an athlete being sidelined is watching guys on TV or [from] the stands, and that gives you motivation to rehab and get back as quickly as possible," said Hartnell, who had 16 power-play goals last season.

At practice, the Flyers were in a mood befitting a 2-5 team.

"Nobody is happy," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's not where we want to be."

Of course, there is a fine line between being unhappy and pressing.

"I think obviously when things aren't going your way, it's a natural reaction to press," said winger Wayne Simmonds, who leads the Flyers in scoring with two goals and three assists. "Your hands start to tighten up."

Simmonds said the team can't dwell on all the missed chances.

"You have to get away from it and focus on what you are doing right and build upon that," he said.

Danny Briere, who has played the last three games after being sidelined with a hairline fracture of his left wrist, was upbeat despite being scoreless.

Briere had 10 shots against the New York Rangers. He feels the time is quickly approaching for him and the team to take off.

"Obviously, we are disappointed, but we're not discouraged," Briere said. "We feel we aren't far away."

He used the loss to the Rangers as an example.

"If we play with the same intensity we played for most of the game, we will be in good shape," Briere said.

Slap shots

 

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who has played in six of the first seven games, was given the day off from practice. . . . Briere, on the play of Bryzgalov: "That is positive, and we know we can rely on him, and he gives us a chance to win almost every single night." . . . The Flyers won just 34 percent of their faceoffs against the Rangers. Briere: "That definitely isn't good enough."

The Flyers will practice Thursday before departing for Friday's game in Washington against the struggling Capitals. . . . Friday will be the Flyers' sixth road game in their first eight, but they will be home for four straight games after that.


Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @sjnard.

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