Oct 20, 2011, 3:20 PM EST
When a kid gets dealt for a team captain and puts up 8 points over 4 games—including a hat trick—in the minors, it’s pretty hard not to play him.
Just five games into the regular season, Flyers fans will get their first taste of Brayden Schenn in a meaningful hockey game. While Wayne Simmons has certainly been a pleasant and wholly welcome addition to the club, it’s Schenn who was really the focal point of the Mike Richards deal, and the player who will most make or break that trade as time goes on and the team moves forward.
Now that GM Paul Holmgren has decided to bring Schenn up to the big club, it’s up to coach Peter Laviolette to find a place for the young star.
The talk over the last two days has the twenty-year-old center potentially playing wing opposite Matt Read on the Sean Couturier line. Thus far this season, it seemed as though the Flyers had escaped their perennial glut of centers forced to play wing. But with Claude Giroux, Danny Briere and Max Talbot anchoring the other center positions, and Couturier looking equally strong in the middle of the ice, someone is going to have to adapt to life on the wing.
Laviolette has remained non-committal in regard to announcing any potential combinations, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the lines evolve throughout the night. Regardless of who ends up with who, the coach should be able to roll all four lines tonight, a potentially unappealing reality for any opponent who will try to skate with this quick, young hockey club.
Speaking of opposition, tonight will mark the first of four meetings this season between the Flyers and Washington Capitals. Led by the high-powered scoring attack of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin, the Caps are off to a perfect 5-0 start. And though Ovechkin has been off to something of a slow start by his own other-wordly standards—1 G, 2A in 5 GP—Washington plays more than well enough at both ends of the ice to be plenty dangerous with or without him.
Tonight’s match up will be a good test for this young Flyers team against a club that has consistently been at, or near, the top of the Eastern Conference standings the past few years.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and can be seen on Comcast SportsNet.
(1) Ilya Bryzgalov is expected back in net tonight after receiving a night off on Tuesday against Ottawa.
(2) Zac Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk have been sent back to Adirondack to make room for Schenn and the returning-from-what-he-deemed-akin-to-a-prison-sentence Jody Shelley.
(3) Jaromir Jagr has 4 assists in 5 games and had 4 in 4. He is not off to a slow start. Let’s just drop that talk.
(4) Brayden Schenn tonight…get amped.
See you post-game.
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