Philadelphia Flyers forward Scott Hartnell’s knack for falling over and over again generated the #HartnellDown meme, but considering some tough breaks recently, the hashtag just seems sad. The team clarified that Hartnell suffered an upper-body injury, not a lower-body one as previously announced.
Injuries and inconsistent play plagued the 31-year-old winger’s 2013 season, as he was limited to 11 points and 70 PIM in 32 games. Those tough times hurt that much more because he came off the best year of his career in 2011-12, scoring 37 goals and 67 points in 82 games.
That slump has carried over into 2013-14, as Hartnell has gone pointless through five games (or four and change).
Even if Hartnell is playing poorly, this is another tough break for a team in turmoil, unless it opens the door for a young player to get some reps.
The Florida Panthers will probably have plenty of people in the building for their home opener Friday because they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. The bad news for Jonathan Markstrom: they’re playing the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The big Swede is starting tonight in part because Tim Thomas (groin) is still not ready to go, according to the Miami Herald’s George Richards.
The Panthers still hold out a lot of hope for Markstrom, 23, to become the team’s goalie of the future.
His start in the NHL has been bumpy (10-20-0 with a middling .903 save percentage in 34 GP), although the team in front of him has often been cratering.
Pittsburgh isn’t likely to make life easy for a team coming off of a humilating 7-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but this would be the kind of night where Markstrom could start to back up that hype.
If nothing else, maybe he can avoid being pulled?
It appears that Rich Peverley has taken Erik Cole’s spot on the Dallas Stars top line – at least for now – according to the Dallas Morning News.
The move spreads the wealth in Dallas’ offense, with a Ray Whitney – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson second line staying intact while Cole joins Shawn Horcoff and Antoine Roussel as the third combo. Peverley was even on the first power-play unit, too.
Head coach Lindy Ruff seems like he’s fond of the mix …
“I think it kind of balances the size out on the lines,” Ruff said. “I think it’s a look we are going to take a peek at.”
… Yet he’s also open to more experiments, especially away from the comfort of home.
“I think on the road, we’d like to see how players play,” Ruff said. “We haven’t played a road game for real yet. The road is different monster, and I want to see what lines are going to compete to be the better lines on the road.”
The Stars play three road games in a row and five of their next six away, so they’ll get a good glimpse of how their players respond to that “monster.” That trip begins tonight against Winnipeg (for more on that, click here).