Flyers

Fret not, Flyers fans: Nolan Patrick's surgery is no nightmare

If there is any sort of uproar over Nolan Patrick, there shouldn't be.

No one ever likes to hear the word "surgery," especially when it's preceded by the name of the second overall pick in the NHL draft.

Such was life for Flyers fans on Friday afternoon, not exactly the fireworks they had hoped for to commence Fourth of July weekend. Yes, Patrick, the Flyers' selection at No. 2, had surgery on June 13 to repair a perplexing hernia injury.

The Flyers knew this. In fact, they prompted it — and that's the overlying takeaway.

So Friday — when the news broke — was not so much bad. It wasn't a setback or the unexpected. In reality, there were overwhelming positives to bury that one negative, the dark and gloomy word magnetically attached to everyone's eyes when it surfaced.

Think about it.

The Flyers studied, so deep and meticulously that it resulted in the realization of Patrick's afflicting problem and the 18-year-old's desire to address it. Once Patrick visited the Flyers on June 7 to undergo medical evaluation, he himself decided surgery was best 10 days before knowing his fate on draft night.

"He wanted to have it done because he didn't want to sacrifice two weeks of summer training and recovery," Hextall said. "We would have had it done on the Monday or Tuesday, probably, after the draft."

Now the Flyers are ahead. Patrick is two to four weeks away from resuming full activities. Not just from working out or skating, but from playing in full.

If not for the Flyers' vigilance, who knows when Patrick is treated. An injury that lingered from last summer to this summer was detected and tackled in about a week, in large part because the Flyers did their homework. Because of it, Hextall and company traveled to Chicago prepared for anything, but really knowing everything. In a franchise-changing spot, their eventual pick was already in recovery.

"I didn't play one game this year feeling [like] myself," Patrick admitted on draft night last Friday. "I've got the summer to get where I need to be."

Turns out, this was said after surgery and it remains true. The summer is still Patrick's canvas for painting his chances come fall. Patrick won't take part in the on-ice portion of July's development camp, which is really a weekend full of drills. He'll be there, though, gearing up for training camp — when the real thing begins in late September. That's what matters most — Patrick's readiness for when roster spots are won and lost.

"He's got long enough now where we believe he can be in shape and be at his best in training camp," Hextall said.

Which, above all, should be the focus, not to mention the future ahead, even if the start of the season was in doubt. The Flyers have a firm grasp on Patrick's health — that was the case prior to calling his name on stage and now moving forward.

On Friday, they didn't scramble, nor did they try to spin Patrick's surgery into something sweet and soothing — because it didn't need to be.

"Is this a perfect world?" Hextall asked of the news. "Of course not."

But the Flyers' world isn't crashing. They have things under control.