Coach Stevens Ain't Messin' Around, Benches Hartnell

Coach Stevens Ain't Messin' Around, Benches Hartnell
January 12, 2008, 5:00 am
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Not long after Joffrey Lupul's lackluster play landed him on the Flyers fourth line, his good friend Scott Hartnell was benched for the third period of a close game in which another forward left with an injury.

Writing for Comcast Sportsnet's impressive new web site, Tim Panaccio says the moves are indicative of a sea change for coach John Stevens.

This is not the kinder, gentler Stevens who succeeded Ken Hitchcock.

Rather, it's the nastier, "I'll embarrass you in front of your teammates," Stevens no one has seen.

I was a bit surprised when, for a second day in a row, I saw the coach rip a player with the cameras on him. But as I drank my coffee and watched the daily dose on CSN, that's just what happened.

"It didn't look like he wanted to play tonight so, we went another
direction," Stevens said of Hartnell, an eight-year veteran. "I didn't
like his game. I didn't think he was moving his feet. I thought
[Andreas] Nodl was going. And then [Arron] Asham moved up and we got
more jump in our game."

Ouch. As we've seen throughout the years, the NHL is not a place where players or coaches can get lackadaisical. Stevens himself succeeded a coach who was fired quickly into a poor start to a season, so don't think he's going to let himself get settled in when his team is near the bottom of the division.

We've already seen a significant trade and two wrist slaps of key players, and I don't think we've seen the end of the efforts on the part of the GM and coach to turn this thing around before it gets really ugly.

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