MOST AFTERNOONS, Scott Hartnell can be spotted walking around Old City with his wife, Lisa.

It isn't exactly hard to pick him out. The Flyers forward would be the tall one with the long, curly hair that sort of goes everywhere at the same time, kind of like the style "The Simpsons" character Sideshow Bob wears.

It's hard to miss.

He also would be the guy with the grin and the bounce in his walk, the guy you easily could picture leading the senior-class prank in school. The hair fits his personality the way Old City does. He hasn't cut it in 14 months and doesn't know when he will.

He likes the laughs his hair gets because he's able to laugh at himself as easily as he gets his teammates to laugh. Ask him about how he fares in a golf game with Lisa, who played in college and teaches the game, and he laughs and says:

"She kicks my butt. I think I've beaten her once or twice, maybe."

So Scott Hartnell is not your typical hockey player, at least not the kind the Flyers were used to having until the summer of 2007, when Hartnell arrived in a trade from Nashville.

Guys who played for the Flyers traditionally stayed in the South Jersey suburbs and only ventured into Philly once in a while. Not Hartnell. He and Scottie Upshall sort of pioneered a whole exodus of young players to the city, including Mike Richards and Joffrey Lupul.

"I like it and my wife likes it," Hartnell said. "You can walk around and do something every night. You're not in a house in a neighborhood where you have to drive 20 minutes to get to Philly.

"Every afternoon we usually go for an hour walk. We walk to the movie theater, which is two blocks away. It's close. Everything is at your fingertips. I don't know if we've gone to the same restaurant twice since we've been there. There are so many good restaurants downtown. It's fun, we just enjoy the city.

"I hear people say, 'Go Flyers' sometimes, but if I lost the hair I'm sure I would be incognito."

Probably not.

Incognito is just not Hartnell's style. When Hartnell is on the ice in the Wachovia Center, he's just as easy to spot. He plays hard, takes chances and is in the middle of many odd moments.

He's not shy about putting his glove in an opponent's face, shoving a helmet from behind and yapping from the bench. He gets caught up in the moment a lot of times and it brings on the spotlight.

Like Tuesday against Tampa Bay, when he got frustrated and tossed his glove at a Lightning player who was on a breakaway. It was classic Hartnell. Tampa's Ryan Malone had knocked Hartnell's stick out of his hand, and then kicked it away before setting off on a breakaway in a tie game with only 16.3 seconds left in regulation.

Admittedly angry, completely exhausted after spending the last minute on the ice, hopelessly behind and with nothing left to think of doing, Hartnell threw his glove at Malone.

Marty Biron was not only forced to make the save on the breakaway, but had to do it again because you can't just throw your equipment at opposing players on a breakaway; it's an automatic penalty shot.

Hartnell's actions left teammates holding their breath and shaking their heads. The fact that he did it surprised them. The idea that if someone was going to throw a glove, it would be Hartnell, did not.

"[Hartnell] would be right at the top of my list," coach John Stevens said yesterday. "Hartsie's a little bit unpredictable, he's always clowning around.

"I don't know if he even knows why he did that, but we can laugh about it now because we won the hockey game [4-3, in overtime]. It would be pretty painful if we were talking about a loss that came from that, so I guess it's all relative at this point.

"The good thing is we were able to win the hockey game and he was able to give Marty some confidence because he was able to make two great saves."

Hartnell is a valuable player to Stevens. He takes a little extra energy to deal with and sometimes has to be reigned in. He can have a tendency to lose sight of what he's doing and it got him benched on Long Island recently.

Stevens was upset with Hartnell's play and lack of focus and just sat him for an entire third period. It's not the kind of thing he has done with Hartnell before, and it's probably not going to happen again, but it didn't change who Hartnell is and how he behaves.

"That's part of what we like about Scottie," Stevens said. "We think he's really playing well right now. He's skating well and he's a big part of those goals around the net. He brings energy and enthusiasm to our team, and just like anybody else, you have to reel him in once in a while.

"But I think Scottie has played some of the best hockey he's played since he's been here as of late. And he takes responsibility for what happens, he's not trying to pass the buck to anybody else."

The glove throw was a great moment that will be talked about for years. But if it were the only moment the Flyers could count on from Hartnell, he most likely wouldn't be here very long.

Hartnell can be counted on for more than comic relief. In 24 games this season, the 6-2, 210-pounder from Regina, Saskatchewan, has six goals and eight assists. He is a staple on the Jeff Carter line, a big body in front of the net on power plays and the kind of team guy who takes the edge off a locker room.

"He's big and strong and sticks up for his teammates. He's probably one of the best team guys I've been around in the dressing room, around the guys on the plane," Richards said.

"But I'm still speechless from [Tuesday's glove throw]." *