Question marks surrounded Scott Hartnell’s health when he missed the third period of Friday’s preseason win in Detroit and then wasn’t on the ice on Sunday for practice.
Turns out, there is good reason for that.
Hartnell had an elevated heart rate on Friday night in Detroit, discovered after some abnormal twitching started in his right arm, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.
Hartnell was pulled out of Friday’s game as a precaution. Some tests were performed yesterday but came back negative. He will not be back on the ice again until he is further examined by a cardiologist on Tuesday.
“It wouldn’t go down, even after rest, during the intermission,” Holmgren said. “We’ll just continue to monitor him and get him tested.”
Holmgren said it was an “abnormal amount of time for a professional athlete” to have the elevated hear rate and would not elaborate further.
Heart problems have been taken very seriously in sports, especially in hockey, after the on-ice death of 19-year-old forward Alexei Cherepanov in Russia in 2008, which was determined to be caused by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a thickening of the heart muscle).
In fact, Flyers forward Jaromir Jagr was skating with Cherepanov on a 2-on-1 rush before Cherepanov returned to the ice and collapsed.
Flyers defenseman Matt Carle’s younger brother, David, who was set to be a first round draft pick in 2008, was forced to retire because of the same disease that suddenly took Cherepanov’s life. David Carle is now a student-assistant coach at the University of Denver, where his full hockey scholarship is still being honored. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the leading cause of sudden, unexpected cardiac death in any age group.
In 2005, Detroit’s Jiri Fischer collapsed on the bench and needed to be revived by an automatic external defibrillator during a game in Nashville. He was unconscious for six minutes. Fischer, then 25, never played another game in the NHL and ultimately became the Red Wings’ director of player development.
Hartnell, 29, will continue to be monitored.
ROSTER TRIMMED: On Saturday, the Flyers parted way with tryouts Michael Nylander and Adam Mair, to trim their roster down to just 29 players.
Nylander, 38, presented the most interesting case of the two to make the roster, but was sidelined with what Holmgren revealed as a groin injury. He never made it into a preseason game.
Mair, 31, played in just one preseason game but has little offensive upside and the Flyers don't need any more penalty killers on their roster.
Ultimately, the Flyers were hamstrung by the fact that they are at the 50 contract limit imposed by the NHL.
“That was a hard conversation with both of those guys, especially with Michael because he never really got an opportunity to get in,” Holmgren said. “With Adam, he played one game and we liked the way he played but at the end of the day, we’re at 50 contracts. I don’t see a way we could just move a guy out."
It clearly helped that some of the younger players like Matt Read, Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo and Tom Sestito have been impressive in camp. Read, 25, has 4 points in 3 preseason games. All 5 of those players remain in camp.
The Flyers are expected to carry the maximum 23 players, provided they can all squeeze under the $64.3 million salary cap, to open the season on Oct. 6 in Boston.
For the latest updates, follow Frank Seravalli on Twitter: @DNFlyers
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