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Hartnell excited for new start in Columbus

by Alex Busch / Columbus Blue Jackets

After spending the past seven seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Scott Hartnell is looking forward to pulling a new sweater over his head this fall.

Moving to a different city, playing with different teammates, and being taught and led by different coaches can be difficult for someone who been with a single organization for almost a decade.

Hartnell, though, is excited for the new adventure of being a Blue Jacket, as he has heard nothing but good things about the city, fans, and organization.

After he spoke with Jody Shelley, Steve Mason and Jakub Voracek following the trade, Hartnell got a better understanding of what Columbus and the Blue Jackets are all about.

“I did talk to Mason and Jake and they both said, 'you’re going to love the city,'” Hartnell said. “It’s a smaller city obviously than Philadelphia, there’s not the big hustle as in a big city. But he goes, 'you’re going to love the fans.'

“I watched the playoffs last year and the fans seemed louder here than they did anywhere.”

Being the oldest player on the current Blue Jackets roster at 32 years, Hartnell is looking forward to working with the exciting, up-and-coming players like Ryan Johansen, Ryan Murray, and Boone Jenner.

Hartnell met Johansen at a charity golf tournament in British Columbia earlier this summer, and after in Columbus on Monday, spent time with Brandon Dubinsky and picked his brain on what it's like to be a Blue Jacket. The endorsement was a strong one, especially after Dubinsky showed his faith in the team by signing a six-year extension earlier this month.

“Playing against the Blue Jackets last year, they were frustrating and hard to play against,” Hartnell said. “You look at the age of all of these guys that are 19, 20, 21 years old, it’s fair to say that they’re going to be a good team for the next five to six years. That’s something that I made clear before saying yes to the trade was that I want to win.”

A move to a new city and being a part of a new team often signals a fresh start for some players, but Hartnell has no plans to change the style of game that's brought him success in a 13-year (and counting) NHL career - and made him public enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“You don’t want to change the style of play that got you to where you are today, and obviously I have made a good career for myself so far,” Hartnell said. “Being that agitating guy, going to the net, making it hard on goalies, finishing every check. Just working hard and working smart is a big part of my game, and that’ll be front-and-center.

“I’m sure the fans of Columbus will appreciate the hard work, and it’s a hard-working team to join here. I’m excited about that opportunity, and I’m sure there will be a few fisticuffs here. I’m excited about getting here, and just during the couple days I’ve been here, it’s a beautiful town.”

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