Flyers' Lecavalier, Hartnell make strides

Vinny Lecavalier and Scott Hartnell, injured forwards who would boost the offensively challenged Flyers lineup, took a step toward returning when they skated and took shots Sunday at the team’s Voorhees practice facility.

It was the first workout for the players since they were injured in a 2-1 loss to Phoenix on Oct. 10.

Lecavalier, who had a goal and two assists after the first five games is expected to be ready for the Flyers’ next game, Thursday against the visiting New York Rangers. He suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury when he bumped into the Coyotes’ Antoine Vermette late in the second period.

“For the first day, it felt really good. It felt better than I thought,” Lecavalier said after a 45-minute session. “After the first day, you see how you feel when you wake up the next day.”

“Everybody’s making progress and they’re on the right track to come back,” said assistant coach Ian Laperriere, who supervised the workouts.

Including the loss to Phoenix, the Flyers are 0-4 without Lecavalier and Hartnell.

“Hopefully, I play Thursday, but we’ll see how it goes,” Lecavalier said.

Lecavalier, the Flyers' second-line center, said it’s a long season and you have to look at the “big picture.”

“If you come back too early and things get worse, it’s not good, so we’re just going to make sure everything is good and strong enough to make sure I can play,” he said. “But it’s looking very good right now.”

Hartnell, a veteran left winger who has an undisclosed upper-body injury that has limited his side-to-side movement, said he “wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent,” and he seems doubtful for Thursday.

“It’s amazing how fast you get out of shape,” said Hartnell, who was pointless in five games. “It’s been just over a week for me, and I was really sucking wind out there.

“Being a ginger, I was being a little ginger” with his movements, Hartnell cracked.

The Flyers have scored 11 goals and started the season 1-7. The goal total and record are the worst in history for this juncture of the season.

Hartnell called it “the worst feeling in the world when you play a team sport and you can’t get out there and help the guys. We’re struggling right now, and you feel like you’re letting everybody down, letting the city down. It gives the hurt guys motivation to get back quicker and make sure you’re as close to 100 percent as possible.”

“There’s a fine line,” Lecavalier said. “You want to come back as quick as possible, but if you come back too early and it gets worse, you’re not helping the team.”

Defenseman Marc-Andre Bourdon, who has been sidelined by post-concussion syndrome, also skated with Hartnell and Lecavalier.

Bourdon has been getting intermittent headaches and dizziness. Later this week, Bourdon will be under the supervision of a concussion specialist at the University of Michigan, Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, and he will also train at the university’s hockey facility.

During training camp, there were “some days I felt like Bobby Orr on the ice and I could do everything, and some days I felt like I was a squirt hockey player,” Bourdon said. “…. I couldn’t react fast and my passes were off and I was really dizzy. I couldn’t look down or up real fast. It’s really tough for me. I don’t really have an answer.”

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.