Stuff I Love About Hockey . . .
The Ones They Say Are The Bad Boys
Philadelphia Flyers Zac Rinaldo
Stuff That's Probably Inappropriate To Ask About Hockey . . .
Can I Kiss It & Make It Better ?
Florida Panthers Erik Gudbranson
Stuff That Sucks When Tweeting About Hockey . . .
The Ones With The Really Long Names That Take Up Almost All 160 Characters
Philadelphia Flyers Pierre-Edouard Bellemare
Stuff I Can't Decide Which I Love More About Hockey . . .
His Beautiful Eyes or His Sexy Smile
Tampa Bay Lightning Ben Bishop
Stuff You Might Not Know About Hockey . . .
The Center Line is Dashed [Not Solid] So Back In The Day, Black & White TV Viewers Could Tell The Difference Between The Center [Red] Line & The Blue Lines.
Columbus Blue Jackets Boone Jenner Faces Off Against Philadelphia Flyers Captain Claude Giroux
Stuff I Wonder About Hockey . . .
So it's pre-game warm-ups & he's suiting up for his third game with his third NHL team of the season against his new team's biggest divisional rival.
The other team coming off an embarrassing 7-4 loss the day before.
This isn't just any rivalry ... this is Flyers - Penguins hockey. If not for the fact the game fell on a Tuesday, it likely would have been NHL On NBC Sports Wednesday Night Rivalry Night Game*.
So I'm Wondering . .
Why does Mark Arcobello look so sad ?
Edmonton Oilers Nashville Predators Pittsburgh Penguins Arizona Coyotes Mark Arcobello
*To "The NHL on NBC":
Update: Perhaps he's sad because he's days away from leaving a team that's a Playoff Contender to being picked up off of waivers by [not that there's anything wrong with them] the Arizona Coyotes.
Stuff I Love About Hockey . . .
The Ones They Say Have "Soft Hands" & Always "Give Good Wood"
[How Do They Know These Things?]
Florida Panthers Rookie Defenseman Aaron Ekblad
Stuff I Love About Hockey . . .
The Ones With The Funny Hockey Faces
Philadelphia Flyers Michael Raffl
Stuff My Dad Wishes I Wouldn't Take Photographs of [About Hockey] . . .
Those Dirty Penguins . . .
[My Dad's Words -- Not Mine]
Pittsburgh Penguins Evgeni Malkin
Stuff That Sucks About Hockey . . .
When The Really Pretty Ones Get Hurt
Get Well Soon!
Pittsburgh Penguins Kris Letang
Stuff I Don't Know Well Enough About Hockey . . .
Philadelphia Flyers Andrew MacDonald
Funny Hockey Face or Just His Regular Face
Stuff That Was NOT Under My Tree This Morning . .
God Damnit Santa !
1. Kidnap Cute Hockey Player
2. Put in Trunk of Sleigh [or Transporter - Whatever]
3. Bring to Stuff's House in Philly
Florida Panthers Rookie Defenseman Aaron Ekblad
Stuff You Might Not Know About Scott Hartnell . . .
It's no secret what Scott Hartnell meant to the city of Philadelphia, both on & off the ice and his on-ice persona epitomized the "Broad Street Bullies" identity [at least in regards to the modern day form of the game]. I've taken my dad to nearly every home game for the past several years. I don't know what goes on 'behind the scenes' or 'in the locker room' so I don't know what type of an impact Hartnell had on the younger members of team. I've seen him evolve & step up his game as a player over the past few years, to the extent of earning an 'A' on his orange & black sweater. I don't mean this in any disrespectful way but, I never quite saw him as a 'leader' so to speak. Maybe his leadership was overshadowed given other veteran presences on the team. It could have been one of those 'in the locker room' things that remained hush-hush so as to preserve his on-ice opinion. Considering the shenanigans the Philadelphia Sports media tends to focus on, maybe it was just something I just missed or wasn't looking for it. Perhaps he was still in the process of evolving and this past off-season's trade sending him to Columbus was the final push he needed to step it up another level.
Whatever it was, from the moment he stepped onto the ice for warmups at 6:34PM on November 14th the man I saw was NOT the same Scott Hartnell that used to wear The Orange and The Black. The very first thing that struck me was the helmet covering his trademark flow. But it wasn't the inability to see the ginger locks I'd photographed in so many states of disarray that startled me but rather the presence of a helmet on his head during warmups. It's entirely possible that given the injuries CBJ had seen this season they weren't taking any chances, as the presence of a helmet on the head of every other CBJ player could suggest. Except there was something else about the way he wore his helmet that immediately struck me. It was buckled. And not loosely like several other players.
I don't know if he was conforming to a new team policy while also ensuring a secure fit over his likely overgrown yet hidden locks. Or if it was his own personal decision to set a good example for the young CBJ core which successfully saw a helmet [although mostly unbuckled] on the head of every other player during that 16 minute pre-game skate. It doesn't really matter because the moment that buckled-helmet-wearing Scott Hartnell stepped out onto the ice 31 minutes before puck drop, the man I saw was undoubtedly a leader.
It wasn't until after the game that I was able to confirm that not only was Hartnell the oldest player on the CBJ roster that night in Philadelphia, he was the only player over the age of 30 suited up for the team. It wasn't a buckled helmet [or the beautiful photo I shot of him wearing it] that moved me enough to [poorly attempt] to write a meaningful article. What I saw that night was so much more than even a buckled helmet during warm-ups could begin to describe.
[quick side bar. . . ]
For years I've taken my dad to almost every home game at the Wells Fargo Center. Prior to this season I'd been buying him season tickets. Medical issues have prevented my dad from being able to put any weight on one foot for over a year now. We usually need to arrive early to exchange our tickets for wheelchair accessible seats & for whatever reason nearly every game I've taken us had us seated somewhere along broadstreet side of the building [the opposite view if the ice you'd see when watching on TV]. For the Nov 14 game, we somehow managed to end up on the other side of the arena. I wasn't exactly thrilled because having seen the game from the same side for so long, it was little confusing at least until I realized it afforded us a view of the players benches.
I can't remember if it was Doc Emrick, Eddie O or Pierre [one of the NHL on NBC guys] that once mentioned the real storylines to the game often occur far from where the puck happens to be. Given my short attention span [yes even during a hockey game], my love of those 'side-storylines' and a camera I'm not entirely sure how to use yet -- I found myself fascinated by the goings-on at the player benches. Which is where I again observed a Scott Hartnell that I never saw in Philadelphia. [Maybe he was there & I was just sitting on the wrong side of the arena - or maybe this was not the same Scott Hartnell].
During his shifts on the ice he was the same Hartsy we all came to know and love. You only need to catch the game highlights to see the much anticipated on-ice interactions with former Flyers teammates. What they didn't show much of during the TV broadcast, was the Scott Hartnell that was sitting on the bench between shifts. That was this man & his interactions with the rest of the team that captured my fascinated [and camera lens] for most of the night.
Without Pierre letting me know what they players were saying to each other - or at least making up something that seems both plausible and interesting, I have no idea what the players are saying to each other on the bench. I can only tell who seems to be doing a lot of the talking. And who appears to be listening and/or paying attention to what. Maybe this was a one-off given his significant familiarity with the opposing that led to his chatting up teammates but he certainly seemed to garner the attention of every player nearby & did so quite often.
When you watch games on TV, they'll often replay a shot where the veteran player goes over to one of the younger rookies to [at least according to the broadcasters] give them advice. During almost every stoppage in play, whether on the bench or on the ice, the younger players seemed to be going over to him. [Assumedly to discuss something related to the game -- I can't say for sure]. What impressed me even more than players initiating conversations with Hartnell, was his reaction when they did. He seemed to love being the 'go-to-guy' so to speak. His familiarity with the Flyers, veteran experience in the league or just his being the most 'grown-up' guy suited up for the night, Hartnell seemed to thrive off of the attention and truly enjoy the responsibility.
I wasn't able to attend the following CBJ game & can't speak for anything except my observations on this one particular night. Maybe this was the same guy that used to play here and I'd never seen it because I'd been sitting on the wrong side of the arena.
The latest trends over the past few seasons have seen team management handing out and taking back letters like they're rewards and punishments or insinuating leadership is some sort of competition pitting teammates against one another, a true leader doesn't need to be one that has the highest production, is most popular amongst fans, has the most marketability for the team and/or needs to be given out / taken away with every game because management handed out letter as though they were 'thanks for participation' awards. I'm somewhat confused as to why management is even the one 'deciding' who gets to wear the 'leader' designation. Or even the coaching staff. From the brief 'beyond the ice' glimpses afforded to fans via 24/7, NHL 36 or the various team-based TV series over the past few season it would seem like [or at least seem like teams try to give us the impression] that the players know who their leader is. Whether it's sewn onto their chest of their game-day sweater for the rest of the world to see doesn't matter.
I don't intend any disrespect to the other CBJ players when I say what I'm about to say. Last year during their playoff series with the Penguins I could have made a valid arguable case for Jack Johnson. Boone Jenner is highly touted as having the leadership skills to one day lead the team. And Brandon Dubinsky [deservedly so] seems to be next-in-line. I can't help but wonder what letter might be sewn on his sweater tonight as tonight is his much anticipated return [interestingly enough against the Philadelphia Flyers].
Maybe I'm not getting my sports news from the right blogs / websites but it seems no one else has noticed that while Scott Hartnell is still the same pesky on-ice guy who loves to give a "welcome to the NHL" greeting to the rookie on every opposing team - I can't seem to find anyone who noticed that in every other aspect of the game, Columbus Blue Jackets Scott Hartnell is a much different man the Philadelphia Flyers Scott Hartnell. At least the one I could see from my view on the other side of the arena for the past several years. Maybe I'm the only who noticed it, or maybe I see things that aren't there [this happens much more often than you'd think] but on November 14, 2014 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA the Columbus Blue Jackets had a captain. And they knew who it was even without it being sewn onto the front if his sweater. Scott Hartnell needs a 'C' on his sweater so the rest of the hockey world can see the Columbus Blue Jackets Scott Hartnell I saw that night.