Reaction to Hartnell SuspensionToday @ 12:58 PM ET | Comments (193)
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was not happy. Neither was Scott Hartnell. I thought the punishment was deserved.
I think the Flyers are fortunate the league is not assessing them a team fine for multiple infractions involving head shots. There are some coaches and GMs right now who think the Flyers are out of control.
“I asked Colin what was behind his thought process and he just felt Scott could have stopped,” Holmgren said. “He tried to stop. The video clearly shows snow from both feet. His momentum more than anything carried him into the player in a vulnerable position.
“What do you want player like that to do? You gotta make a decision in a very quick amount of time. Hopefully, a situation like that doesn’t arise again. We want our players to play hard and finish their checks, but we want them to be more careful in situations like that.”
Hartnell was not available. He is on the plane to Carolina for tomorrow's game. But here is what he had to say after the morning practice, anticipating his conference call with Colin Campbell:
“Even if I do get suspended, I am still going to finish my checks,” he told me. “If you watch the last few games, I go for the forecheck and the D has their back to me and I don’t finish my check that hard.
"You can rub them out and bury the guy from behind and it would probably be a legal check, but I am not that dirty of a player.”
I wonder how this affects the Flyers from here on in terms of hitting. Already, we have seen Randy Jones backing off a bit on board hits.
“You can’t worry about repercussions finishing your check,” Hartnell said. “I guess I could have skated away and not finish my check but that’s part of my game. Everyone in here finishes their check.”
I asked Jason Smith about these same issues: how do you play the Flyers style now and not wonder whether the hit is going to end up as a suspension. And I believe Hartnell's hit certainly deserved one.
“You have to continue to play,” Smith said. “If you play with hesitancy or fear, things don’t happen. We need to compete at the highest level we can and work at the hardest level we can.
“You have to realize that incidents happen and you want to limit the amount we’re a part of. If you go out and play hard, hopefully, we won’t get involved in any more of those. It’s something our team has to deal with.”