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Flyers need more from Hartnell

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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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Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals

Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

(Check out video of the hit above.)

The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

Yikes:

Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

(If you’re into that kind of thing.)

Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: