Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hartnell down with broken toe; Knuble on the way

Philadelphia, PA -- Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell will miss anywhere from 4-to-8 weeks with a broken toe in his left foot.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren confirmed the diagnosis and timetable prior to Thursday's home contest against the New York Rangers, and also confirmed that he will be exploring trade options now that another marquee name has been sidelined for the long term.

"We're looking around. Obviously Scott's a big loss because of how he plays the game and to have him out is difficult if you're looking at a month to two months… It's a tough pill to swallow, so we'll see what we can do."

Hartnell, who was coming off a career-best 37-goal season in 2011-12, was felled in the second period of a 3-0 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday, when he was struck in the skate by a shot from teammate Kimmo Timonen.

Holmgren initially pronounced his wild-haired top-six forward to be out indefinitely in an initial update on Wednesday. Of note, Hartnell appeared in all 82 games for the last two consecutive full seasons and hadn't missed one since January 14, 2010 -- having appeared in 330 of the previous 331 games over the last five years. 

One other bit of intriguing, yet unofficial news is that the Flyers have apparently brought back Mike Knuble.

The 40-year-old was playing in Grand Rapids of the AHL, after the team which originally drafted him, the Detroit Red Wings, signed him to a PTO. Knuble starred here from 2005-09, but left to take a lucrative free-agent deal with the Washington Capitals.

However, Knuble, along with several high-profile players, endured a falling out with interim head coach Dale Hunter last season over changing roles within a different system from the one former head coach Bruce Boudreau employed. Knuble was held to six goals and 18 points -- his fewest in something approximating a healthy, full season since 1997-98 -- in 72 regular-season games. 

The move cannot become official until the club rids itself of the contract of disappointing minor-league goaltender Niko Hovinen. The organization requested waivers for $125 in order to terminate his deal, which will open up a spot within the league-mandated 50-contract limit.

That is provided the Flyers keep junior prospect Scott Laughton. If Laughton is returned to juniors, then there will be two potential contract spots available.

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