Scott Hartnell is smiling quite a bit these days. Hes got the Big Bird haircut going in full bloom, too.
The Flyers left wing has four goals and nine points in five games since being promoted to Claude Girouxs line with Jaromir Jagr.
The move was intended to get Hartnell going he was goalless then and its worked. The G Line has been on fire, accumulating 23 points in four games.
Yeah, I had a tough training camp, Hartnell said. I didnt really feel good. My body didnt feel good mentally, you start gripping the stick tighter. Its amazing what one game does.
Coach put some confidence in you and starts playing you more, you have to take advantage of that opportunity. I dig playing with these guys and its exciting.
Jagrs first goals of the season (five of them) came about after the line change, as well. He has seven points in his last four games.
Of course, its a lot better when you can score and the team is winning, Jagr said. Sometimes its not easy. We were pretty hot the last game, hopefully we can continue to play the same way in the next games.
Hartnell had not been crashing the net or creating chances until the line switches. His ice time has boomed from 11 minutes to over 17 minutes, and hes getting more power play time, as well.
All of that extra time had been chopped off and given to Wayne Simmonds.
He is a different body who plays the game a little bit differently, coach Peter Laviolette said of Hartnell. Maybe Simmonds could have gotten a shot. But he is a right shot and we needed a left shot. But those are the power forward types who get into the crease and into the paint.
The easy thing would be to say that once Ville Leino signed as a free agent with Buffalo, the Flyers most effective line the Danny Briere unit with Leino and Hartnell of nearly two years was gone.
The trickle-down effect ran everywhere, even for Briere, but its impact seemed to hurt Hartnell the most. Briere seems to adapt more quickly to change.
Danny Bs obviously smaller than Jags or G, Hartnell said in comparing the lines. I loved playing with Ville. Seemed like he was making plays out of nothing.
The playd be over and youd be ready to back check and hed scoop the puck and keep it alive and make plays. With these guys, its a little different.
Jagr is Jagr, Hartnell said. He can score from anywhere and he has a great shot. Get him the puck as much as possible.
Hartnells career high is 30 goals and 60 points in 2008-09. You never know what he might get if he stays on this line, especially, given Jagrs playmaking ability.
Im not really worried about that, Hartnell said. Its been a good few games to get points. Weve got to get wins and keep moving up in the standings. Were not at the top of our game right now. We know that. Thats the main focus.
When the Flyers were looking to cut salary coming out of training camp to make their roster work, there were reports out of Nashville that the Predators were talking to them about making a deal to bring Hartnell back.
Hartnell says he hears rumors all the time. Doesnt like it, but puts up with them.
You start reading columns, people around the city telling me to pick it up, everything, Hartnell said. You struggle or youre hurt and whatever, they start riding you and all that stuff.
You try to keep it on even keel and not worry about all the rumors I try to keep it an even keel. I try to play my game, Im a hard worker.
Lavy on Bryz
Laviolette was asked about the teams new media policy, which changed several times on Monday. Essentially, the team wanted to suppress the media's ability to talk to Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky on certain days.
Last week, the Flyers had four games. That would have meant virtually no access to the goalies all week.
Im just trying to give him a break a little bit, Laviolette said, specifically of Bryzgalov. We just talked. Theres just too much coming out. Were trying to protect him.
The matter was forwarded to the Philadelphia chapter of the PHWA for continued discussion and presented to the PHWA's executive board. A grievance was filed with the NHL and the PHWA called the Flyers to inform them that they were in violation of the media policy, as per the CBA.
Within minutes of that notice, everything went back to the way it's always been with one stipulation: there will now be a time limit on how long the goalies talk on a daily basis. The goalies will not talk on game day until after games, as has always been the case.
Briere, Matt Read and Zac Rinaldo did not practice. They have upper body injuries, general manager Paul Holmgren Chris Pronger will be re-examined by team ophthalmologist Stephen Goldman on Tuesday.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org.