Going into the 2013 season, it seemed like Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell would rank as one of the top duos. A fluke foot injury stalled Hartnell’s season just three games in and things haven’t gone well even during his return. The lowest moment came when head coach Peter Laviolette demoted him from the top line altogether.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ power forward told CSNPhilly.com that he understands the decision and also gets why his coach has to use some tough love every now and then.
“I wouldn’t say ‘whipping boy,’ but it’s definitely, there’s been in the past, especially with Lavy, a message sent to me,” Hartnell said. “I don’t mind. I think I needed it, to be honest. Sit on the bench and watch the guys play. I had a couple shifts. Some of my best shifts in a half dozen games in the third period. It’s about how you respond to [adversity].”
The Flyers could use a healthy response from the 30-year-old winger, indeed.
He has just one goal and zero assists in eight games this month. Whether Hartnell is on the first line or among the team’s grinders, that has to turn around or Philly’s outlook will look that much bleaker.
Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.
Leafs’ Nylander puts on show with breakaway goal, assist on Matthews’ 33rd
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.