The Philadelphia Flyers suffered a tough loss on Saturday night to the Minnesota Wild, but they got some good news before the game. General Manager Ron Hextall addressed the media prior to the game, giving updates on the injured players, including Nolan Patrick.
The prized rookie has been out for over two weeks after hitting his head against the boards on October 24th. Patrick practiced the day after and traveled with the team to Canada, but did not travel with the team for their two-game trip last week to Chicago and St. Louis. The Flyers have been smart to play it safe with Patrick, who should travel with the team this week.
Hextall said that Patrick skated on Saturday morning, and he had a good day. “That’s kinda where he’s at now,” he said. “He has to work his way back.” He’s getting closer to returning to action, and the Flyers are “hoping he’ll practice on Monday” with the team.
Hextall won’t ever discuss when a player is cleared for contact, and that remains true for Patrick, but he did note that “he’s got some work to do…. He’s been off a while. It’s gonna take a few days here to see where he’s at.
However, Hextall feels good enough about Patrick’s recent progress to say that he’ll practice on Monday, and that he suspects the rookie will travel to Minnesota and Winnipeg this week. “He needs to be on the ice with the team,” he said.
Patrick has been putting in the work over the past week and a half, Hextall reiterated. “He’s been skating on and off for a week to 10 days by himself. He skates early in the morning.”
But skating by himself isn’t enough. “He’s been on the ice, but it’s a big difference between being on the ice by yourself and being on the ice with your teammates. So he’s got work to do there.”
Patrick has been out for a few weeks, mostly under day-to-day status, but there were never setbacks with the young center. Even when he said he was good to go in Ottawa, there were never setbacks. “No, there’s been no setbacks” the GM said. On the other hand, “obviously there hasn’t been enough progress, or he would’ve been playing.” But he made sure to clarify that “there’s been no setbacks” for Patrick.
The Flyers played it smart with Patrick, and slowly but surely he is working his way back. Practicing with the team on Monday will be a big step, as will traveling with the team this week. One player can’t save a team, but Patrick’s presence in the middle-six can hopefully spark something.
Patrick could return to the lineup this week if he travels with the team. The Flyers will try to revenge their shutout loss to the Wild with a rematch on Tuesday night in Minnesota, before traveling to Patrick’s hometown of Winnipeg on Thursday night. Patrick skated hard on Saturday and getting back in the lineup for that game would be a cool goal for him.
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