Scott Hartnell is back in the Blue Jackets’ lineup tonight after sitting out Tuesday’s game as a healthy scratch.
If you’ll recall, Hartnell was the cause of a too many men on the ice penalty in the third period of Saturday’s game against Colorado, a penalty the Blue Jackets managed to kill off in a 1-1 game that they eventually won late in regulation.
On Monday, Hartnell addressed his teammates at the end of practice and apologized for the penalty. It compounded his recent frustration with not contributing offensively, but his coach doesn’t want him to change a thing when he gets back in tonight.
Well, maybe not change, but curb the discipline a bit.
“I don’t want a different Scott Hartnell,” Tortorella said this morning. “Since I’ve been here, (Hartnell) has been one of my most consistent forwards – he’s a really good player. I’m not looking for a different one, I just want one that is disciplined right on through, being himself. I think he needs his personality and I’ve stressed for him to be his own person, because he’s a throwback. That's personality we need within our team.
“It’s when the sloppiness comes into play, he’s got to reel himself in. He’s a pro. He’s a very good player, and we’re looking forward to getting him back in.”
Though he’s gone seven games without a goal and has but one assist in his last five games, the 33-year-old Hartnell is tied for the team’s scoring lead with Brandon Saad (31 points). When Tortorella came on board in late October, Hartnell went on a tear and was one of a handful of Blue Jackets able to find the back of the net.
It’s gone dry for him the last couple of weeks, his coach isn’t a bit concerned that he’ll get it back sooner than later.
“He does a lot of really good things for our club,” Tortorella said. “Through the past few games prior to missing the last game, he’s frustrated because he doesn’t think he’s helping the club. He’s been off the scoreboard and hasn’t had many shots, but he’s a good player – a very good player.”