TORONTO -- Nearly two years younger than his brother, Flyers forward Brayden Schenn has relied on his older brother, Luke, to help navigate the ropes of the NHL.
Luke Schenn had nearly 150 NHL games under his belt by the time Brayden finally got his chance with the Flyers last season.
This year, the protege has guided the veteran.
“He’s got a little seniority with the Flyers,” Luke Schenn said with a smile. “He’s showed me the ways a little bit.”
Brayden was traded to the Flyers from Los Angeles in 2011. He knows what it’s like to adjust to a new team. But even he could not prepare his older brother for the circus-like reception in the hockey mecca that is Toronto. Luke Schenn was surrounded by nearly 30 reporters and cameras after the Flyers’ pre-game skate at Air Canada Centre, similar to the same number James van Riemsdyk experienced just down the hall.
“There’s no market like it,” Luke said.
“I didn’t really have the same experience, with the friends and the city, that comes with it,” Brayden said. “I only played in LA for 3 months. I didn’t even get the chance to know LA yet.
“There’s a lot that comes into it, when you’re involved in a big market like Toronto or Philadelphia. He knows. He’s been around this media circus, or scrum, for the last 4 years.”
Luke Schenn sold his place in Toronto over the summer, making a clean break from a city and organization where he was thrown into the fire only 4 months after being drafted in 2008. When asked by the hungry pack, he did not want to delve into details about whether his 4-year run was successful.
He admitted, though, that a fresh start was welcomed. Ron Wilson played the heck out of him, skating him more than 20 minutes a night in 2 out of the 4 years, before cutting him back to just about 16. Luke’s minutes, and likely confidence, remained at the same level even when Wilson was fired halfway through last year.
“I’m not going to get into it too much, whether it was a success or not a success,” Luke said. “I had a great experience in Toronto, I’m very thankful for the opportunity. It’s a great experience, it’s an awesome place. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was a great place to play hockey, to experience this market. It’s cool just being back in Toronto. Obviously, they moved on. I’m pretty happy in my new place.”
Through his first 12 games with the Flyers, Luke is averaging 20:37 minutes per night. He leads the NHL in hits with 48.
“I’m feeling good,” Luke said. “You get a little more opportunity and you don’t think about the negative thoughts as much. Everyone’s made me feel really welcome. I think you find yourself a little more comfortable. The team’s been playing a little better as of late, which makes you feel a little better individually.”
Luke said if he had to pick a place to get traded, Philadelphia would be the spot. It’s nearly as good a fit as Mike Fisher being dealt from Ottawa to Nashville, where his wife, Carrie Underwood, makes a living as a country artist -- or Jordan Staal from Pittsburgh to Carolina with his brother.
Aside from the teammates his brother has introduced, Luke played on the same World Junior team for Canada in 2008 with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds in the Czech Republic.
“It’s obviously a great organization and a great hockey market,” Luke said. “And with my brother being there, it doesn’t get any better than that.”
The Schenn’s parents, Jeff and Rita, and two sisters, were in Philadelphia last week to visit for a little more than a week. The two brothers live in the same building in Philadelphia, separated by about 10 floors, and they’re inseparable.
“We’re pretty much together 24/7, breakfast right through supper and we do it all,” Brayden said. “We’re not sick of each other yet.”
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