If you watch the line rushes tomorrow night before the game, you might not recognize the head inside the No. 19 helmet.
That’s because Scott Hartnell’s long locks –- not as long as Michal Handzus' 13-inch locks, but a worthy attempt, nonetheless -- are gone.
Hartnell cut his hair this week. No longer the wild image. More stately now. Older-looking, too.
“Why not?” Hartnell said, when asked why. “Changed it up. I’ve done it a couple of times since I’ve been here. It’s different looking at yourself in the mirror. Like a total different man.”
Hartnell doesn’t have a point in seven games. He’s been back in the lineup two games after missing the previous four with a rib cage injury.
He appears healthy. He had three shots during the 5-2 win against the Islanders, but none against Anaheim.
“I really liked him in the Island,” coach Craig Berube said. “The other night [against Anaheim], like the rest of the team, I didn’t mind them until the third period. They got good speed there with Jake [Voracek].
“Got some grit and goal-scoring ability with Schenner [Brayden] and Hartsy to go to the net. It’s a good combination. As long as they’re doing the right things out there, good things will happen if they play the right way.”
Voracek said this line “couldn’t bury” any of their chances against the Ducks.
“It wasn’t very good but as long as the chances are there, we have talent in this room and we can bury those chances,” Voracek said.
Hartnell came into camp in the best shape of his Flyers career. He anticipated a quick start then suffered a freak, non-contact rib injury against the Coyotes.
Berube said he’s fine and that Hartnell is “on the right path” to breaking out of this slump.
The more you shoot, the more you increase your chances to do just that. Hartnell has nine shots this season.
“There’s been some perimeter shots, but it seemed like I didn’t get any shots the first six or seven games,” Hartnell said. “It’s nice to find the net, too. [I had] a couple chances to tie it up. They’re not going in right now.
“You just have to stick with it. When the shots aren’t there, that is when you have to worry. It’s going to be a dirty one off a shin pad or off a skate or whatever. It doesn’t matter how it goes in. I just can’t find the back of the net.”
Maybe the hair cut will change his luck.
Since taking over for Peter Laviolette, Berube has skated the Flyers hard at every practice.
Lots of wind sprints and suicides at practice’s end.
Now since both he and his players openly admitted they didn’t do much skating in the third period on Tuesday against Anaheim, it seems logical that they would do quite a bit on Thursday.
Could be the coach is sending a message to his players about letting two-goal leads go by the wayside when you stop skating.
“I’m not sure it’s really sending a message with the third period,” Berube said.
Voracek said a few weeks ago that the Flyers have a very fragile mentality about the third period in tight games. Until they start believing in themselves and their ability to come from behind or close games out, that mental block won’t change, he said.
“The third period is a mental thing, not an effort thing,” Berube said. “It’s a mental thing we need to get over.”
How do you reverse that? Berube says through positive reinforcement.
“Keep bringing it up, keep talking about it, keep working on it,” he said. “The third period on [Long Island], that wasn’t there. We did a good job. Little things sometimes cause you to go the other way.”
The Flyers were ahead 3-2 going into the third period against the Islanders and closed the game out.
They were ahead 2-1 against the Ducks but got steamrolled in the final period.
Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees and Pennsauken will host the inaugural National Hockey League Youth Tournament Friday through Sunday.
Fifteen teams are competing in it.
The Flyers are the official hosts of the tourney, which features AAA youth programs affiliated with several other NHL clubs, including the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Detroit Red Wings, the New Jersey Devils, the New York Islanders, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals.
Team Comcast will be representing the Flyers organization in this tournament. An additional 17 teams will also be participating in Pittsburgh, hosted by the Penguins.