Schenn Takes Advantage of Opportunity
Due to the unfortunate injury to right-winger Jaromir Jagr, rookie Brayden Schenn is getting the chance to play on the top line alongside Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell.
Although he has struggled with injuries and consistent play this season, Coach Peter Laviolette had the confidence in Schenn to gave him the opportunity to play on the team’s top line. He doesn't usually play on the wing, but he fit in quite nicely at the position.
Saturday's game against the Devils was his first chance to play on the line. It was the perfect circumstance for the 20-year-old to catch a break and finally get his game going.
In a time where the Flyers' top right-winger got hurt in the early stages, Schenn stepped up and did what he had to do for the remainder of the game. He met Laviolette’s expectations and played just how the coach hoped he would.
After the 4-1 victory, it was reported that Jagr would be out indefinitely. There wasn't any doubt as to who would play on that line in place of him. Schenn would continue to fill the role as best he could. A good test for the kid, as the next opponents would be the physical Boston Bruins.
In a 6-5 shootout loss, many may have had their focus on natural hat trick scorer, Hartnell. However, Schenn continued to improve, something that might have flown under the radar because of the hat trick.
He got his physical game going against the Bruins. He delivered six solid hits; one of which demolished Steve Kampfer. Schenn realized he had his head down, and he bulldozed him. Kampfer was slow to get up, and didn't return to the game. Schenn then drew a penalty, as Bruins forward Chris Kelly went after him looking for a fight.
“I saw him coming around the net with his head down,” Schenn told reporters. “I just kind of laid a shoulder into him and as I was skating up the ice I saw him kind of turn around and wanted to fight”
It wasn't just Schenn’s physical play that stood out. He made many hard-working plays; one coming with under ten minutes in the third period when he drew another penalty while the game was tied. He also went crashing hard into the net when a loose puck was in Thomas' crease, and came close to putting it in the back of the net.
Schenn finished the game without a point, but he was all over the place and his self-confidence was evident. With 18:38 of total ice time on 25 shifts, he had a significant impact on the game. One of his six hits even led to the Flyers third goal.
Laviolette was impressed with Schenn’s performance.
“I thought he had a great game,” he said to reporters. “There's nothing to show for it on the points, but he was a factor in the game from start to finish.
“He's been battling injuries where he's been out of play. With that you lose your timing, lose your conditioning, lose everything. For him to come in in a big game today from back-to-back[games] and play the game that he did, I thought that he was a key factor and key contributor.”
Assuming Jagr is still out from his injury on Tuesday, Schenn will continue to play on that first line and will most likely continue to make an impact on the outcome.
When stars like Jagr and Daniel Briere get hurt, players need to step up and that's what Schenn’s starting to do. Laviolette rewards come in the form of ice time, so look for Schenn to be getting a lot more in upcoming games. It's only a matter of time before he starts showing his offensive ability like he did in 27 games with the Saskatoon Blades last year, when he racked up 53 points.
New position. New line. Playing with Giroux and the red-hot Hartnell could very well have a positive outcome on Schenn's play. Thus far, he looks like he’ll take advantage of the opportunity.
“I played the right wing a while and I played with them a little bit last game in Jersey and I’m starting to like it, especially getting to play with guys like Giroux and Hartnell,” he told the media after the shootout loss. “I just try to create space for them, you know see what their doing out there. For me, it’s my job to get in on the forecheck and create space and get them the puck.”
It could very well be the turning point of his season.
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