Flyers' Hartnell a fall guy with a cause

Chalk up another $1,000 for charity as Scott Hartnell falls into Team Chara goaltender Carey Price.
Chalk up another $1,000 for charity as Scott Hartnell falls into Team Chara goaltender Carey Price. (Associated Press)
Posted: January 30, 2012

OTTAWA - Even with the final score still in doubt, Claude Giroux devoted an entire shift in the third period of last night's NHL All-Star Game to emptying Scott Hartnell's wallet.

After all, it was for a good cause. And at $4.2 million per season, Hartnell can afford it.

No matter the cause, Giroux' deliberate attempts to trip up his own teammate and linemate made for an interesting game within the game. Hartnell pledged to donate $1,000 to charity for each time he hit the ice yesterday, as part of his ongoing #HartnellDown campaign that began with a fan on Twitter.

"I tried to trip him the whole shift," Giroux said. "I wasn't able to. For his charity, I thought he didn't fall enough."

Hartnell's agent, Dean Grillo, said the total damage was $4,000 for four spills on the ice. They were trying to get a donation from Giroux for both his goal and the pain he inflicted.

"He was trying to trip me every faceoff," Hartnell said. "It all counts."

For Hartnell, the charitable effort was just one part of what ended up as a magical weekend. It was one that, for him, seemed in doubt as recently as last Tuesday, when he was finally recognized for his stellar season as an injury replacement for Chicago's Jonathan Toews. Hartnell and Giroux played on Team Alfredsson, which lost to Team Chara, 12-9.

"Before I left, a bunch of people told me to just enjoy it," Hartnell said. "I definitely did that. I couldn't stop laughing the whole weekend."

Yesterday, the laughs began in pregame introductions. When he wasn't being tripped by one linemate, Hartnell would poke fun at his other two linemates.

Despite the odds, which say only approximately 4 percent of the world's population has red hair, Hartnell started the game on a line with fellow gingers Henrik and Daniel Sedin, twins from the Vancouver Canucks. He was then moved to play with Giroux and San Jose's Logan Couture for the final two periods.

"I asked 'Torts' if I had a bad period," Hartnell said. "We were just joking around and having a good time. It was all in good fun. I still don't know which [Sedin] is which, I just called out 'Sedin,' with no Henrik or Daniel.

"I was pretty nervous playing with those guys. They had great give-and-gos so I would just give the puck right back to them."

Hartnell ended up with two assists, including feeding Giroux for his goal.

The weekend was Hartnell's first trip to the All-Star Game since he went as a 19-year-old in 2002 with Nashville to play in the Young Stars game in Los Angeles.

"It's a celebration of hockey," Hartnell said. "So, to get 42 guys that are the best in hockey, to see their skills was pretty cool. Everything was awesome. Ottawa is a great city, they did a great job putting it on and the fans were great."

His favorite part, though, was getting to know players like the Rangers' Henrik Lundqvist or Dan Girardi - guys he would usually hate. That new bond will soon be broken again in the second half of the season, when the Flyers face New York three more times in a battle for the Atlantic Division crown.

"Seeing these guys, you don't really know them at all, just from seeing them in highlights and stuff," Hartnell said. "When you get that chance you kind of hope for them to be a [bleep] to you, I guess so it makes you hate them even more on the ice. But they turn out to be awesome guys. When push comes to shove next time we play them, it'll be the same thing. I'm going to try and hit [Girardi] every chance I get and I'm sure he's going to do the same to me."

Timonen wins

Kimmo Timonen had a quiet and uneventful All-Star Game, skating on a defense pair with former Predators teammate Ryan Suter. He did not have any points, but did register a shot on goal in helping Team Chara to the victory.

On the bright side, Timonen said he was glad he emerged unscathed. His streak of 232 consecutive games played is not in jeopardy tomorrow night against Winnipeg.

Most importantly, Timonen said he enjoyed spending the weekend with his parents - who flew in from Finland for the game - and his only son, 12-year-old Samuel. It was his fourth All-Star Game appearance but the first time he could have his son on the bench and in the locker room with him.

"It's a busy 4 days, but at the same time you can spend time with the family," Timonen said. "There are not many hockey players who can do that, a chance to bring your son over here. I'm sure he's going to remember that for a long time."

Quotable

"It was just a whole ego weekend, pretty much. To have a weekend like this is surreal. You can never dream of anything like this. You don't really know how to embrace it, really. I don't think until tonight when the kids go to bed, you can kind of sit and relax. I'm sure I'll be dead tired, but I'll take it all in and realize that this is something that not everybody gets to experience. I don't know if I deserve it or not, but it's definitely humbling. It's been great." - Classy Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, 39, on his spotlight-centered All-Star weekend in Ottawa, where he could well be skating in his swan-song season after 16 years with the team.

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