Schenn makes Flyers debut

Posted: October 21, 2011

BRAYDEN SCHENN joined the Flyers yesterday for the first time since training camp adjourned on Oct. 5, saying he didn't want to do "too much."

Last night's first period let him get his feet wet in his Flyers debut, playing just 2:48 out of 20 minutes because of the six penalties that were called against both sides.

"You want to make a good first impression," Schenn said before the game. "But just because I'm out there doesn't mean I'm going to try to be flashy or impressive."

Schenn wasn't flashy. Just impressive, in his own way, despite finishing as a minus-3 in the 5-2 loss to Washington.

"I thought he was strong,'' coach Peter Laviolette said. "I don't think the stats are a good reflection. I think on two of those goals, they were deflected off our own guy. The third one was a bad turnover. They weren't his fault.''

Despite spending much of the first period on the bench, Schenn was on the ice to take a key, defensive-zone faceoff in the first period. He was lined up between stars Jaromir Jagr and Claude Giroux. Schenn won the draw and headed straight for the bench, to be swapped out for James van Riemsdyk, as Giroux raced in on the puck now in Washington's end.

It was a good indication of Laviolette's trust in the 20-year-old rookie, who played eight games with the Kings last season before being sent back to his junior team. He deserved to start this season with the Flyers, but salary-cap issues kept him from doing so. Schenn knows the NHL style, both from his own experience and what his older brother Luke, a captain in Toronto, has taught him.

Whatever confidence was lacking, Schenn said, was restored during his four-game trip to Adirondack, where he collected four goals and four assists for the Phantoms.

Last night, he was held off the scoresheet, limited to just one shot and four hits in 11:03 of ice time.

Schenn's biggest impact was on the lineup, which largely had been set in stone during the first five games. Jody Shelley, in his first game eligible since being suspended five games for a hit in the preseason, was a healthy scratch.

Laviolette had to juggle his lines to squeeze in Schenn, knowing that fourth-line minutes wouldn't suffice for a player of Schenn's caliber. Some thought Scott Hartnell might move to the fourth line.

Instead, Schenn - who skated with Hartnell and Jakub Voracek - bumped Sean Couturier to the bottom line. One game after scoring his first NHL goal on Tuesday in Ottawa, Couturier still received the bulk of his minutes on the penalty kill. Matt Read moved to play with Danny Briere and Wayne Simmonds, while Jagr's line with Giroux and van Riemsdyk remained unchanged.

Schenn looked comfortable, as he did during training camp. He made plays in front of the net and in traffic and isn't afraid to hang onto the puck for an extra second on the boards.

City rink upgrades

The weather is finally getting cooler in Philadelphia - which usually would signify the first opportunity for the city's open-air, public skating rinks to build ice for the winter. Starting today, it won't.

Flyers chairman Ed Snider will be touring Laura Sims Skatehouse (63rd and Walnut) to get the first glimpse of the reconstructed and now fully enclosed facility whose completion was because of his donation. With a city budget crunch, the rinks were targeted for closure.

The Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation contributed $6.5 million last year to match a grant from the commonwealth, which allows for five city rinks to be open 7 days a week, year-round. Each city rink will include new classrooms, learning labs, expanded public space and allow Snider Hockey to double the after-school program's current 3,000-child capacity.

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