DETROIT – As a precaution, the Flyers held defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere out of the lineup Monday in Detroit, but he will return Thursday against visiting New Jersey, according to coach Alain Vigneault.
Gostisbehere missed his 10th straight game following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
“He’s had just one full team practice, and he wasn’t totally 100 percent,” Vigneault said. “I think the smart thing is for us to give him a couple more days and he’ll be ready."
Gostisbehere will skate Tuesday — the Flyers will not practice that day — and have a full practice Wednesday. “And he’ll be ready for Thursday’s game,” Vigneault said. “He was playing through it; it was painful. I think now he’ll be 100 percent. It’s just a matter of him getting his conditioning and his timing back.”
After participating in Monday’s morning skate in Detroit, Gostisbehere said he felt “ready to go, but I think just to get a full practice in will make me have a better mindset going in” to Thursday’s game. “If they really needed me, I could go, but the boys are really rolling right now, so just stick with it and I’ll get in on Thursday.”
Entering Monday, the Flyers were 6-2-1 in the last nine games without Gostisbehere.
Gostisbehere said the pain in his knee made it necessary to have the surgery.
“To know you’re not going to have that pain anymore is a better way to play hockey,” he said.
The long layoff was also beneficial for him, mentally. “It was a good reset,” he said. “You get away from the game a little bit and, like everyone in this room, you come back hungry.”
For the first time since he was injured, goalie Carter Hart took part in the morning skate Monday and he continues to make progress. He has missed the last seven games because of a lower abdominal strain.
Vigneault said the next few days will dictate whether Hart can return and play Thursday.
“It’s going in the right direction and I’m feeling better every day. I’m putting the work in to come back as soon as I can,” Hart said after the skate. “At the same time, you don’t want to rush anything to make it go backwards."