VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Nolan Patrick, suffering from a migraine disorder that has prevented him from playing this season, took an encouraging step Saturday, but the 21-year-old center is still far away from returning to the Flyers’ lineup.
“It’s still a week-to-week process, but it was real good to see him on the ice with the guys,” Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said after Patrick practiced with the team for the first time this season. He has been skating on his own for about a month.
It was a positive sign that Patrick felt well enough to travel with the Flyers on their three-game trip to western Canada. He looked sharp skating and taking shots on goal during the morning skate at Rogers Arena, before the Flyers faced the Vancouver Canucks.
He was asked what needs to happen before he is cleared to play.
“Obviously, being pain-free is probably the first thing,” he said. “Some days are tough, and it obviously affects your everyday life, too. Hopefully it turns the corner pretty quickly. It’s been improving, but it’s been a little slower than I hoped for, but I’m getting better.”
The Winnipeg native added that it’s “up and down, depending on the day.”
Patrick said the migraines, which started early in the summer, “kind of snuck up” on him, but added he had them when he was much younger. “It’s obviously pretty frustrating, and hopefully soon it’s gone."
He added: “I had some as a kid, and then it went away, and I never had it again for probably seven or eight years. And then it came back. It started slow and then got more and more intense. When I was younger, it was a lot different. I didn’t really have any treatment for it when I was younger, so it’s obviously nice to have things to help it now.
“It would get to the point where I was sick from it as a kid,” he said. “I’d get nauseous from it, and then I would be fine. It comes at pretty random times.”
He is undergoing some treatment and taking medication.
Patrick was excited to be on the ice with his teammates.
“Obviously, it’s nice being back,” he said. “The guys were gone for a while in Prague, and you’re by yourself. You feel detached from the team, so whenever I can be around when I m injured, it’s nice to feel part of the team again.”
Captain Claude Giroux said, “He looked good. It’s always fun when Patty is around. He’s been through a lot, and we’re all here to support him.”
Patrick , selected No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft, said there were “more things involved than just headaches.” He would not elaborate.
The former Western Hockey League star was impressed with his teammates’ 2-0 start.
“We look good. We look fast. The guys look confident,” he said, praising the starts of right winger Travis Konecny -- “he’s looked amazing” -- and goalie Carter Hart. “Good to see some of the young guys playing bigger roles right off the start.”
Patrick, who scored 13 goals in each of his first two seasons, is also expected to play a major role when he returns. He was going to drop from the second line to the third, which the Flyers believe will give him better matchups.
The Flyers will use the same lineup that won the first two games. … Hart (2-0, 1.50 GAA, .946 save percentage) will oppose the Canucks’ Jacob Markstrom (1-2, 2.37, .922) . Hart, 21, is the eighth goalie – and youngest -- in Flyers history with a shutout before his 23rd birthday.