Flyers need more from Hartnell


After a career-year that earned him a hefty six-year, $28.5 million contract extension in 2011-12, everything that went right seemed to go wrong for Scott Hartnell in 2013.

That extension kicks in next season, so what can the Philadelphia Flyers expect from the 31-year-old going forward? It might be best to study the past.

Tough luck

Hartnell really had a rough time last season.

That might be best symbolized by the fact that an unlikely injury made him miss 16 games, as Kimmo Timonen’s shot broke his foot.

If that wasn’t enough, the puffy-haired winger bounced around Philly’s lines, failing to maintain his cushy gig alongside Claude Giroux.

As Broad Street Hockey notes, Hartnell’s shooting percentages were way down compared to 2011-12, which was just a blessed campaign.

All the breaks

Boy, did things go well in 2011-12, though.

Hartnell set career-highs for goals (37), points (67), shots on goal (232) and shooting percentage 15.9. He seemed to nail both the quality and quantity categories.

No doubt, Hartnell played over his head, although it’s worth noting that he produced one similar scoring season. He scored 30 goals and 30 assists for 60 points in 2008-09, his second in Philly.


It seems like Hartnell’s 2013-14 expectations should probably be somewhere between 2013 and 2011-12.

He’s been surprisingly sturdy before 2013 – he only missed three contests in his first five Flyers seasons – yet his rugged style and increasing age indicate that he might be on the shelf at least a little more often.

Sticking with Giroux could be a key to maximizing his numbers, yet he’s fairly reliable for somewhere between 20-30 goals each season.

Long story short, for a player who popularized #Hartnelldown, most of the signs are looking up.

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Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.