Hart­man wants to be more phys­i­cal, but Q says winger must con­trol him­self

Chicago Sun-Times - - BLACKHAWKSBEAT - MARK PO­TASH Fol­low me on Twit­ter @MarkPo­tash. Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Ryan Hart­man didn’t cel­e­brate when he was on pace for 82 goals and an NHL- record 410 points af­ter a five- point game in the Black­hawks’ sea­son opener.

“Nope,” the sec­ond- year for­ward said. “I was happy for that game, but as soon as that game was over, I was ready for the next one. It’s not any­thing I thought about too much.”

And just the same, Hart­man isn’t fret­ting about be­ing a healthy scratch 17 games later, sit­ting out the 7- 5 loss Sun­day to the Devils.

“It’s part of hockey,” Hart­man said. “There’s times where we needed to change things up be­cause things aren’t go­ing well. I went through some of those last year and I came back strong, so I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting back in.”

Last sea­son, when he was 22 years old, the gritty Hart­man was part of the home- grown in­fu­sion that helped the Hawks sus­tain salary- cap losses and pro­pel them to the No. 1 seed in the Western Con­fer­ence. The 6- foot, 181- pound winger was a grinder who could score, with 19 goals, 31 points and a plus- 13 rat­ing in 76 games. Af­ter sit­ting out five games early in the sea­son, Hart­man played 68 of the Hawks’ fi­nal 69 games, in­clud­ing the four play­off games against the Preda­tors.

But now, Hart­man’s sea­son has mir­rored the Hawks as a team. Af­ter a goal and four as­sists in the 10- 1 blowout of the Pen­guins, he has only three goals and five points in 16 games.

“Any time your team’s strug­gling, I think every­one kind of grips the stick too hard,” Hart­man said. “Every­one’s try­ing to pro­duce when teams aren’t pro­duc­ing. My game’s al­ways been play­ing the cor­ners, play hard, and the goals and points will come, so maybe I was think­ing a lit­tle too much of­fen­sively and not enough about play­ing hard in the cor­ners and tak­ing the body and stuff like that. I’m look­ing to bring that when I come back.”

Hart­man’s abil­ity to grind and score is a chal­leng­ing bal­ance for a player who is a grinder first and a scorer sec­ond. While Hart­man wants to be more phys­i­cal, coach Joel Quen­neville is look­ing for him to use his skill, as well — and stay out of the penalty box.

“Dis­ci­pline’s part of it,” Quen­neville said. “We’d like to see him with the puck more be­cause he does a lot of good things when it’s on his stick. And find that bal­ance of stay­ing on the ice. Cer­tain guys we know their M. O. is abra­sive­ness, whether you can be an­noy­ing some­times as far as draw­ing penal­ties and [ do­ing] it the right way. He’s been around for a lit­tle bit, so every­one’s aware. So find that bal­ance.”

Af­ter 70 penalty min­utes in 76 games last sea­son, Hart­man al­ready has 16 in 17 games this sea­son, and he prob­a­bly hasn’t seen his last healthy scratch. The key is to keep get­ting bet­ter af­ter each one.

“It’s all part of the process,” said team­mate Patrick Sharp, who en­dured healthy scratches and mi­nor- league stints with the Fly­ers be­fore be­com­ing a main­stay with the Hawks. “He’s still a pro­duc­tive player, still a big part of our team. There are go­ing to be ups and downs through a player’s ca­reer just like through a team’s sea­son. I started my ca­reer as an ex­tra for­ward … did what­ever I could to stay in the league.

“I’m not com­par­ing my­self to Hartsy in any way. I think he’s head- and- shoul­ders above where I was at his age. He’s well on is way to hav­ing a great ca­reer. He’s go­ing to be a big part of our team.”


Gritty Ryan Hart­man has 16 penalty min­utes in 17 games and has only three goals and five points in the last 16 games.

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