Flyers fans are going to start seeing a lot more of Scott Hartnell.
Hartnell, a fan favorite during the seven seasons he played for the Flyers, has been hired as a studio analyst for the NHL Network after having made several guest appearances over the past few months, the network announced Wednesday.
Hartnell, know as Hartsy to fans and former teammates, will make appearances across all of the network’s studio shows, including its flagship program, NHL Tonight. Hartnell said he never thought about going the television route as a player until he was approached by broadcasters like Sportsnet hockey reporter Elliotte Friedman toward the end of his career.
“I’m not going to lie. I was really, really nervous during my first couple times on [the NHL Network],” Hartnell said. “But I just kind of really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to expand over the next couple of years to have more of a role.”
When he began to have interest in becoming a broadcaster, Hartnell said, he reached out to former Flyers teammate Jody Shelley, who is a color analyst on Columbus Blue Jackets broadcasts on FOX Sports Ohio. Shelley’s top advice was for Hartnell to just be himself.
“People want to see your personality, not a comedian,” Hartnell said. “Hopefully that shows up show in and show out on TV.”
In addition to his studio role, Hartnell will also contribute to the NHL Network’s pre-game coverage of Saturday’s Stadium Series game between the Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Lincoln Financial Field. Hartnell said he’s been impressed with the Flyers’ recent success and the play of rookie goaltender Carter Hart, which has put them in the unlikely position of fighting for a playoff spot.
“Gritty was a good distraction when there weren’t good, but Carter Hart plays like he’s been playing for 10 years,” Hartnell said. “He’s just so poised and so confident … he’s making the easy stops, he’s making the stop he shouldn’t make. They’re in every game because of Hart, which has obviously led to a bunch of wins over the last 15 games.”
Hartnell also had some thoughts about the rumors surrounding his former teammate Wayne Simmonds, a prospective unrestricted free agent this summer who could be dealt before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
“I didn’t think the Flyers had this tough choice to make because they’re now in the playoff race, but if [Simmonds] does get dealt, he’s going to bring a lot of heart and a lot of physical play to a playoff team that needs a little boost,” Hartnell said.