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Hartnell Is Rejuvenated


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By his own admission, Flyers winger Scott Hartnell played miserably in the season's first two weeks.

Maybe it was because some of his good friends, including Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Ville Leino, were no longer here and he felt alienated.

Scott Hartnell struggled in the Flyers' first six games but is now thriving with new linemates Jaromir Jagr and Claude Giroux.

Maybe it was because his highly productive line - with Danny Briere and Leino - had been broken up and he felt lost.

Maybe it was because he was having problems developing chemistry with his new linemates.

Whatever the reason, Hartnell struggled in the first six games, going goalless and managing a total of six shots. He was averaging about 11 1/2 minutes a game.

In short, the Flyers were not getting a good return on Hartnell's $4.2 million cap hit.

On Twitter, fans made him the team's early-season scapegoat. Some wanted him demoted to the fourth line. Others wanted the Flyers to ask him to drop his no-trade clause.

Ah, but a lot has changed since two weeks ago. That is precisely when Hartnell was moved onto a line with the irrepressible Claude Giroux and the ageless Czech, Jaromir Jagr, a future Hall of Famer.

Entering Saturday night's matchup against Columbus, Hartnell had 10 points (five goals, five assists) in his last six games. He had been on the Giroux-Jagr line for seven games, averaging almost 18 minutes a contest.

No longer does he look lost. (Though he still falls down a lot.) No longer are fans clamoring for him to go elsewhere.

Hartnell, 29, is playing the game with zest again and is starting to resemble the wild-haired guy who put up a career-best 30 goals in 2008-09.

"It seems he's winning a lot more battles. He was struggling a little bit early in the year," Briere said Friday. "I think he's a lot more upbeat - his personality and when he gets on the ice, he just has that edge to him that in the beginning of the year maybe wasn't quite there. It's good to see. We need a Scott Hartnell to perform for us to be a successful team."

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Hartnell gives the Flyers a big body in front of the net. He and the 6-3, 240-pound Jagr have been a perfect fit with the smooth-skating Giroux, giving the coming-of-age superstar - whom Jagr calls "Little Mario" - lots of room to maneuver and work his stickhandling magic.

"He's a space-maker," said general manager Paul Holmgren, describing Hartnell.

Briere knows all about Hartnell's value, having centered him for most of the previous two seasons.

"He does a lot of little stuff that doesn't show up on the scoreboard or stat sheet - taking a beating in front of the net, five on five and on the power play," Briere said. "That's a tough job. He's an agitator; he gets under the other teams' skin. Those are little things that you might take for granted. It doesn't show on the stat sheet, but we all know how valuable he is to our team."

In the season's first five games, Hartnell was on a line with rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read. He then played one game with Brayden Schenn, another rookie, and Jakub Voracek before coach Peter Laviolette put him with Giroux and Jagr.

The line has been, by far, the Flyers' most productive unit. It has gotten various nicknames: the Hairline, the Little Mario Line, and CzechMates are a few of them.

Hartnell was asked if he felt rejuvenated playing with his new linemates.

"I had a tough training camp. I didn't really feel good and my body didn't feel good," said Hartnell, whose line produced 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in their first seven games together. "And mentally, you start gripping the stick a little tighter. It's amazing what one game does, and when the coach puts some confidence in you and starts playing you a little bit more, you have to take advantage of the opportunity."

Earlier in the season, Hartnell admitted, he was beginning to doubt himself.

"You start reading your guys' columns or people around the city tell you to pick it up," he said with a smile. "When you're good, everything is good. When you struggle or you're hurt, they start riding you and all that kind of stuff. You try to keep an even keel. You can't worry about what you guys say and all your [trade] rumors. You just have to play your game."

With Carter and Richards traded in the offseason, the Flyers needed some of their young players to pick up the scoring slack. They also needed veterans like Hartnell, Jagr, and Briere to show there was still some tread on their rather worn tires.

One month into the season, the tires don't need any repairs.

by Sam Carchidi

Read more: http://www.philly.co...l#ixzz1d2L0gTS6

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well this guy has equal performance, he will help to score againt Flyers, then score him self. Also he takes a lot dump penalties. Now when he plays with Jagr, you can see, same size guy, can't stand on his skate at all compare to Jagr.

His contract is huge, trade him for D-man.

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I can skate. Not good mind you but I can skate.

If I were playing on a line with Giroux and Jagr, my numbers would be inflated also.

That was my first thought. Cripes, Shelley could score 20 goals playing with those two. But I have to give credit where it's due and he has looked the best since he scored 30 goals a couple years ago.

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I like the way he is gelling with Giroux and Jagr. He is going to score even more down low with Jagr and Giroux drawing the bulk of the attention on the ice.However, I truly hope he starts taking some after hour skating sessions/lessons from Jagr on how to maintain your balance while on skates.

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IMO if you can't score playing with Rooo and Jagr then you must suck. I just think Lavy put him there to get him going, if other forwards are struggling I would think he'll do the same to get them going too. But as of right now Hartnell is earning that 4.2 mil.

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Well it wasn't just a matter of getting Hartnell going; Lavy needed somebody who would fit with Giroux and Jagr, who wasn't going to be a "work in progress" the way JVR looked with them. The top line right? So you're counting on production, right away and consistent. Hartnell joined the line and it happened.

He's really the perfect complement to Giroux and Jagr. Hartnell gets ragged on for falling down, which is fair, and as soon as he has a few bad games people moan that he's overpaid. But he makes up for his liabilities by playing the game with an edge, one that's not easy to play against. He's sweet as pie off the ice but a real mother- to go up against, especially camped outside the crease.

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That was my first thought. Cripes, Shelley could score 20 goals playing with those two. But I have to give credit where it's due and he has looked the best since he scored 30 goals a couple years ago.

first off No, Shelley wouldn't score 20. that's a little hyperbole i know, but come on. for the salary hit we take for him i'd prefer to see him playing top 6 minutes and earning the minutes with this kind of production, back on the old forum, a person speculated that he was lost in the "leadership " position on a line and i think that's accurate. he's not a leader; he's the good solider, the guy who'll do the dirty work everywhere on the ice, be a good guy in the room, just don't rely on him to be the guy who leads the charge, expect him to have that guy's back.

we rag on him about dumb penalties and falling down, but i've never seen him dog it on a shift and more often than not during last years swoon he was the guy still putting out max effort. i'm glad he's rejuvenated or whatever, he's got a big contract & he's playing to it.

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IMO if you can't score playing with Rooo and Jagr then you must suck. I just think Lavy put him there to get him going, if other forwards are struggling I would think he'll do the same to get them going too. But as of right now Hartnell is earning that 4.2 mil.

JVR wasn't coring with those two so they moved him to a different line... wonder what that means :blink:

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right - and I'm not sure it means "JVR sucks" but it was becoming obvious he wasn't meshing with Giroux and Jagr.

Giroux and Jagr were both probably a little frustrated with JVR, Hartnell hadn't found his game and was off to a bad start...Hartnell joined that line at exactly the right time.

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Why does Harts take a dump penalty anytime he scores in the same game?

I can't stand this guy, he does a good job, then being stupid take a penalty. Same thing happened vs Tampa, he tipped a puck, but then took 2 min, so eventually Tampa score. These penalties leads to losing a game, because team is trying to kill them for 10 min, then go out of sequence. You could feel Jagr was pissed at the end of the game.

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