This hasn’t been a banner campaign for veteran Blue Jackets forward Scott Hartnell.
And tonight, it’s not going to get any better.
Yesterday, Hartnell was in the news for a different reason. At the end of practice, he addressed his teammates and apologized for taking an undisciplined penalty in Saturday’s win over Colorado.
Hartnell was slow getting off the ice for a line change because he was chirping and barking at players on the Avalanche bench after a physical shift. It resulted in a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.
The Blue Jackets have suffered from excess and ill-timed penalties all season, and Hartnell has led the parade. This was the latest. In a 1-1 tie, it put the Jackets on the penalty kill midway through the third period.
“I’m a better player than some of the penalties I’ve taken the past few games, warranted or not,” Hartnell said. “I’m frustrated with myself, and I think everyone is (frustrated) with me. I know better.”
That Hartnell is being scratched despite the apology shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. He’s been a healthy scratch already this season, and Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella benched the 33-year-old immediately after Saturday’s incident.
Of course, Tortorella did say Hartnell’s apology was “important,” and “part of building your locker room.”
Hartnell is tied for the club lead in scoring this season, with 31 points, and sits second on the club with 15 goals.