Philadelphia Flyers leftwing Scott Hartnell did not want to miss Thursday night’s game against the team that drafted him into the league. However, it was a real possibility that he could have had to sit out the game due to injury. Hartnell who suffered a great ordeal last season with a broken foot, made the smart move by donning on skate guards and it helped him prevent further injury.
Hartnell hadn’t been wearing skate guards and during the team’s game against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, he had a close call when blocking a shot with his foot. He left the game to put skate guards on and was listed as day-to-day for a little bit prior to their game against the Nashville Predators. After getting it looked out, it was decided he was able to play. It was a close call for the Flyers winger, and due to it he chose the smart thing by putting on those skate guards and not thinking with his pride.
The winger said that he will probably continue to wear the guards and even compared the protective gear to wearing an eye shield. Hartnell is one of the players that was really adamant about wearing a visor due to safety, and having just dodged a fracture to his ankle, he’ll be sure to be one of the players that are pro-foot protection.
This was a good move, because the injuries in the league have increased over the years. While skates have gotten softer, that leaves players’ feet and ankles vulnerable to more injuries, from both other players skaters or their own as the Flyers saw with prospect Eric Wellwood last season. In Hartnell’s case, even blocking a hard shot can be debilitating to a player without any sort of protection. When the Ottawa Senators‘ Eric Karlsson took a skate to the ankle last season, the league really started to encourage the wearing of protective socks and it could very well be where the league is heading. Is it possible that protective socks and skate guards will eventually become mandatory like eye shields have?