Hartnell could start skating Saturday

Flyers winger Scott Hartnell. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Scott Hartnell could be back in the lineup before the Flyers wrap up this season-long, six-game road swing next week.

Hartnell will visit a doctor on Friday, hoping to receive clearance to begin skating on his surgically repaired foot on Saturday.

The Flyers are in New Jersey on Friday and visit Montreal on Saturday. With permission from the doctor, Hartnell could return as soon as next Wednesday in Pittsburgh, which would be just a shade unver 4 weeks since undergoing surgery.

Hartnell, 30, fractured the big toe on his left foot on Jan. 22 against the Devils after taking two separate shots hit his skate. Surgery was performed on Jan. 25 to set and reinforce the toe. Originally limited to crutches, Hartnell’s cast was removed early last week.

Hartnell was with the Flyers on their trip through Toronto and Winnipeg. He has been wearing a walking boot to protect the toe, but has been doing more and more each day without it.

He has been exercising and riding a stationary bike without any problems.

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“I’m able to walk a little bit now without the boot, which is a good sign,” Hartnell said in Winnipeg. “I’m able to do cardio and workout, so that’s been good.”

Hartnell has missed 10 straight games, his first to injury since joining the Flyers in 2007. Hartnell led the Flyers with 37 goals last season, including 16 on the power play.

‘JVR’ PAYS IT FORWARD: Rarely have we ever seen one play that perfectly encapsulates a trade as we did on Monday, when James van Riemsdyk skated by Luke Schenn to score his 8th goal of the season for Toronto.

It was their first game facing each other since the two lottery picks were traded for each other last June.

After the game, van Riemsdyk was asked if it meant anything more to him that he beat Schenn for the emotional goal. His answer was all class, no different from how he handled himself all 4 years in Philadelphia.

“Luke Schenn's a great player and I'm happy for him and Brayden that they get to play together," van Riemsdyk told Chris Johnston of Rogers Sportsnet. “I was kind of laughing about it with my family a little bit. Hopefully, that kind of karma follows around me and my brothers where we get to play together. 

“I'm happy that those guys get a chance to play together. I think both of them are probably the prototypical Philadelphia Flyers with how they play. With the toughness and physicality and they're obviously great players. I'm sure they're going to have great careers in Philadelphia.”

Both of van Riemsdyk’s younger brothers, Trevor and Brendan, are following in his footsteps at the University of New Hampshire and both hope to turn pro eventually.

“He’s probably frustrated. He’s a guy who wants to make a difference, he wants to see this team be successful. He feels frustration when that’s not happening. But I think it’s a matter of time with Claude. Without the captaincy, Claude is like that. I’m sure he takes it to heart.”

-Peter Laviolette on whether the captaincy has impacted Claude Giroux’s underwhelming start to the season. Giroux picked up his second point in 5 games in the Flyers’ win over Winnipeg on Tuesday.

For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers