Tick, tock. Tick, tock.
Oh, that’s the ticking time bomb inside the Flyers’ locker room.
You may not need to wait much longer for the shoe to drop with this Flyers team; they could be within hours of a major implosion.
The NHL holiday roster freeze goes into effect on Saturday at 12-midnight and doesn’t lift until Dec. 27, which would leave the Flyers’ hands tied during an entire five-game stretch. During the freeze, teams are restricted from trading or making any types of call-ups, demotions or moves on the waiver wire so players can rest easy during the holiday season.
They have won just three times in their last 14 games and have dropped into a tie for 14th place in the Eastern Conference.
At the Flyers’ optional practice on Wednesday – less than 12 hours after returning from a 6-1 drubbing in Pittsburgh – Scott Hartnell must’ve felt the pressure. Hartnell was one of the only non-injured Flyers that skated, with the exception of new goaltender Michael Leighton and Riley Cote.
“Call it what you want,” Hartnell told the Daily News. “You have to pay the price. Sooner or later, heads are going to roll.”
He joined Simon Gagne, Blair Betts, Darroll Powe, Cote and Leighton to “wheel around” on the ice.
Like his team, Hartnell has had a particularly rough stretch of games: his three penalties on Monday nearly cost the Flyers a big win and a late turnover (combined with uninspiring play) resulted in Pittsburgh’s fourth goal last night. That’s why his name has been circulating through the rumor mill.
With a salary that pays him $4.2 million, Hartnell could be hard to move.
Another name that has been mentioned is Jeff Carter, who is scoreless in his last four games. Though his play has been lifeless of late, the Flyers could be reluctant to move a 46-goal scorer from last season.
Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said on Wednesday that he doesn’t think a trade is warranted, yet. He said that he has had general manager Paul Holmgren’s full attention over the last few days and after lengthy chats about his new team, Laviolette has left “nothing bottled up.”