Better With Popcorn

Still Some Time for Scotty Hartnell

The overwhelmingly popular opinion right now is that Scott Hartnell should be axed.

Fans, reporters, etc. are tired of watching him struggle and just want him off this Flyers team. It is impossible to say that that opinion is not warranted, but there are some reasons to slow down with the hostility for number nineteen in orange.

No goals in seven games is a telling stat. And those minor penalties he has taken will not make any coach or fan happy.

His passing has also looked sloppy. When he should shoot he passes and when he’s driving the net, he just can’t do anything.

So why on earth should the Flyers be giving Scotty more chances?

Think back to the 09-10 season when Scott Hartnell struggled terribly. Images of him slamming his stick on the ice on the bench multiple times come to mind. After those struggles when Hartnell got put on a line with Danny Briere and Ville Leino, magic happened.

It would be pretty naïve to expect something like that to just happen now for Hartnell. He’s played with different guys this season and nothing has helped. But all it takes is one little click and his whole season can easily turn around.

Hartnell has a big personality. He does not shy away from his emotions whether he’s being a goofball with his teammates or whether he’s downright angry at himself, he will show it. The body language of a struggling hockey player is starting to come out in him. But all he needs is some confidence.

Just one goal will do the trick. Remember when he had two hattricks in a season? Remember when he was so good at getting those garbage goals in front?

Hartnell is a 20-goal scorer. He has showed that he can even go higher than 20. One goal is guaranteed to spark something in him.

Look at Jaromir Jagr. He has also gone 7 games without scoring a goal. Granted, he IS Jaromir Jagr after all and he has definitely developed some chemistry on the team. There is no panic over him not potting one. The situation may be extremely different, but there is one similarity: confidence.

Jagr has had pucks hop over his stick. He has had bounces go the wrong way.

The same things can be said for Hartnell. He has been having all the worst luck which is normal for a struggling hockey player.

The clock is obviously ticking. The Flyers cannot stick with Hartnell solely because of potential. He has to produce. But just one goal can and will lead to plenty.

The Flyers need his scoring depth. If he continues to struggle, fans will get their wish. But do not place your bets on that just yet. This could easily turn around.




John Russo's picture

I can't give up on Hartnell. He needs to stay on a line with Briere (and pref Voracek). That combo would be a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" situation. Briere can get the puck to the net, which will create chances for Hartnell. And like you said, he pots one and his confidence goes up. This will cause Hartnell to play more confidently and create scoring chances for his line mates.

Alicia Sprenkle's picture

Agreed. He just needs a tiny bit of confidence in himself and some confidence from his coach and he will be just fine. If he scores one this week, he'll be just fine

Chuck Gaston Jr's picture

Scotty is Scotty. He will always be a dirty goal scorer, he will always crash the crease, but he won't always be producing. If he plays his game, it makes it easier for others around him to do their thing and with that said, I don't think he has been playing his style of hockey. I think that is were some of the frustrations are coming from.

I am also shocked there isn't any talk of Voracek's play lately. The guy has 2 goals and 4 points, but he has shown very little in terms of the forecheck and defensive responsibility. Flyer fans should have been just as upset with his recent play as they are with Scotty.

I am also very happy to see Simmonds playing well. He was a guy I really liked and thought Pittsburgh could have made a move for. If he continues his strong two way play, the flyers might be able to move Scotty without loosing his production.

Adam Pardes's picture

Great work, Alicia. I'd say 99 out of 100 guys don't just "lose it" when it comes to poor play. These guys go through slumps, but there's a reason they made it all the way to the NHL. The Hartnell that we've seen succeed for the Flyers is still living somewhere deep inside of this sad, hairy excuse for #19. He'll definitely be back, just a question of whether he'll still be wearing orange and black when he finally steps his game up...

John Saquella's picture

The thing is, the Flyers have 3 forwards besides Hartnell that have scored 20 goals in a season in the past 3 years. Simmonds and Voracek have been off to solid starts, but they'll likely need Hartnell at some point. Trading him now would be doing what people shred Holmgren for doing-wasting assets.

John Russo's picture

Fully agree with what John S said.