Related content: Hartnell Press Conference Coverage
(Voorhees, NJ, July 10) – For new Flyers left wing Scott Hartnell
, it was a good day to be indoors and close to a couple of sheets of ice – and not just because it was close to 100 degrees outside.
For the first time since signing a six-year contract with Philadelphia on July 1, Hartnell was in town to meet team personnel as well as the local media at the Virtua Health Flyers Skate Zone on Tuesday afternoon. It’s clear that the big, rugged winger is excited to be a part of the young nucleus that General Manager Paul Holmgren has assembled.
“It’s a good day to be a Flyer here,” said Hartnell. “Just coming in yesterday, everyone has been so nice and so graceful. Looking around the city, it’s a beautiful city…a little hot right now, but a good day to be in a hockey rink.”
|Scott Hartnell tries on his #19 Flyers jersey for the first time on Tuesday. (Flyers Photos) |
Hartnell was acquired by Philadelphia, along with fellow Nashville teammate Kimmo Timonen
, on June 18, before he was due to become an unrestricted free agent. The 6’2’’, 210-pound left wing’s style of play is one that has endeared itself to Flyers fans over the years, as Hartnell generates much of his offense from hard work, rough play, as well as occasionally dropping the gloves. He finished with 22 goals and 16 assists for 39 points and 96 penalty minutes in 64 games last season.
Still considered a young player after six years in the NHL, Holmgren believes that Hartnell is just now coming into his own as a force in the league.
“We look for big things from him. Obviously, he is a big, rugged kid and we think that he is just scratching the surface of his potential as a 25-year-old player,” said Holmgren. “We think that there is a lot more there, and we are going to have the opportunity to see it come out as a Philadelphia Flyer. He is the type of player that Flyers fans have grown to love; the hard-nosed, hard-working guy that plays the game properly.”
While Timonen’s name was tossed around before July 1 as a potential target of the Flyers in free agency, Hartnell’s was not. He was as surprised as anyone to find out that Philadelphia was interested in his services, and had no reservations about joining the club despite its tough season last year.
“Not really,” said Hartnell when asked if he ever anticipated coming to Philadelphia. “You kind of rank the teams in your head with your agent, teams that would be interested, and Philadelphia, when it came down to it in negotiating, was a no-brainer basically.
“They committed on getting Kimmo Timonen
in the same deal, going out getting a big free agent to change this team around. The biggest thing that I expressed to my agent was that I want to go to a winning team. I want to go to a contender and with everything they have done, they have shown that.”
To John Stevens, the team’s head coach, Hartnell fits the mold of the other new players that have been acquired by the Flyers since the season’s end.
“He is a self-motivating guy, he is an extremely hard worker and when he plays that way, his talent comes out and he produces,” said Stevens. “The pressure we are putting on Scott and everyone else is to come in here and be the hardest working team in the league…period.”
Hartnell’s self-motivation is evident when he is asked what he thinks his role on this team is going to be. It’s clear that while the team expects a lot from him, he expects a lot from himself as well.
“I am putting a lot of pressure on myself this year,” said Hartnell. “It’s a big year for [me]. Every summer you work out, and try to be the best player you can be. Coming in here and having a six-year deal, I am going to have the same expectations of myself to be in the gym, be committed, be on the ice early, start skating…it’s going to be no different. I am going to try and come in and have a great start and hopefully the ball will keep rolling.”Note: Comcast SportsNet will carry live the press conference with Jason Smith on Wednesday at noon, as well as the press conference on Thursday with Daniel Briere at noon.