Philadelphia Flyers goalie Carter Hart will not play the next two games against the Buffalo Sabres in order to “work on his game.”
Brian Elliott and Alex Lyon will dress for the Flyers.
Hart’s play has been disappointing this season, to say the least. The 22-year-old is 8-9-3, with a 4.04 goals against average and a .869 save percentage.
“He needs to work on his game,” Vigneault said Monday. “He needs to work harder; he needs to work better. I’ve had a good conversation with him and [Flyers goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh] about my expectations about his practice habits and him stopping the puck.”
In his past 10 outings, Hart is 2-6-0 with a 5.04 goals against average and a .815 save percentage. He was pulled after a terrible 22 minutes against the New York Rangers on March 25, when he allowed five goals on 11 shots. The Flyers went on to lose that game by a final score of 8-3, which was at least better than the 9-0 drubbing they endured on March 17.
The Flyers find themselves with a 16-13-4 record ahead of Monday’s contest against the struggling Sabres and they do have a chance to pick up some wins and momentum.
Meanwhile, Hart has a chance to pick things up in general.
“We were able to have [Hart] skate in practice yesterday, we’re going to have him skate and then stay on the ice and work on his game,” Vigneault said. “Tomorrow is a team practice day, which we hadn’t had a lot…He’s going to skate today in practice, stay on after, practice with the team tomorrow, stay on after. Wednesday he will do the same thing, he’s going to practice it and work with Kim after. We’re going to stay that way here for a little while here.”
How long a “little while here” winds up being is probably going to depend on how much progress Hart makes, but something has to give.
Without a doubt, Hart has the support of his teammates and the faith of the franchise over the long haul. The consistent response to this dip in fortunes seems to be abiding patience, at least for now. Everyone goes through periods of difficulty and it’s essential for the Flyers to sort this out for the good of the organization and their young netminder.
“We all know Hartsy is a good goalie; everyone in the world knows Hartsy is a good goalie,” defenceman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “Everyone goes through their ups and downs. Right now it’s a down…I just know his personality and how he is and his attitude for playing the game. His preparation is second to none. I’m pretty sure no one in this organization is too worried about the Carter Hart we’ll see next.”
Pic: Derik Hamilton/AP