|2009 - Scott Hartnell||81||14||30||44||-6||155||8||4||138||15:43||171||8.2|
Scott Hartnell had a really rough year.
His regular season was highlighted by personal issues, ones we won't discuss on this site. All we know for sure, anyway, is that he had some personal issues. And quite honestly, that's all we need to know. Hartnell had a difficult time in his personal life, and by all accounts, those problems followed him onto the ice.
All season long, we were dumbfounded by Hartnell's inability to handle the puck, make a clean pass, put some rubber in the net, and most of all, stay on his skates. His resurgence in the playoffs, however, showed us that Hartnell is not a lost cause, and that his regular season could have just been a terrible anomaly.
Looking back at Hartnell's regular season, it's easy to understand why so many fans wanted him out of town at the trade deadline (despite his no-trade clause). The perennial 25-plus goal scorer only scored 14 goals in the regular season and dumb plays, like the errant centering pass to nowhere, became more of a story than his hair. (Well, okay, almost.)
But seriously, as much as Hartnell's regular season was a complete disaster, he picked things up down the stretch. As the playoffs began and stretched on, his new-found chemistry with Ville Leino and Danny Briere only improved his game. He suddenly had the hunger that he's known for, the ability to be effective in front of the net, and he seemingly won just about every single puck battle. He even scored quite a few trashy in-front-of-the-net goals, an old Scott trademark.
What was the reason for the turnaround? Scott reportedly realized the urgency of the situation. If he continued his terrible play, he was likely either out of Philadelphia or, down the line, ready for a severe pay cut. Or both. He was able to forget about his personal issues and effectively put them behind him. Oh, and as we know, the power of the beard always helps.
So, for his resurgence, we give him a C. After all, without his playoff performance, it's safe to say the Flyers don't make the Finals, and he deserves a lot of credit for overcoming his problems. Over the last two months, Hartnell played some of the best hockey of his career, and despite the frustrating regular season he may have had, he deserves a lot of credit.