Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Brother acts in Flyers' preseason opener

UPDATE: Goalie Michael Leighton told reporters on Monday he was not going to Toronto, but there has been a change of plans and he has made the trip.

Brother acts in Flyers' preseason opener

    UPDATE: Goalie Michael Leighton told reporters on Monday he was not going to Toronto, but there has been a change of plans and he has made the trip.

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    Center Brayden Schenn and defenseman Blake Kessel, two rookies trying to make the team, could be facing their brothers when the Flyers open their exhibition season Tuesday in Toronto.

   The Maple Leafs' roster includes all-star forward Phil Kessel and defenseman Luke Schenn.

   The brothers have never faced each other in an NHL game, even in the preseason.

   Luke Schenn, who signed a five-year deal for $18 million on Friday, sat out the Leafs' exhibition Monday against Ottawa, and he was expected to play against the Flyers on Tuesday.

   “It will be pretty exciting, pretty cool for us since we haven’t played each other" since juniors, said Brayden Schenn on Monday after the third day of the Flyers’ camp in Voorhees.

   Schenn said he and his brother have been talking about the game “ever since the schedule came out.” Schenn added that the meeting “won’t change anything for me” and that he wants to play his usual game. “I’ve got to play him as just any other guy. I’m sure it’s going to be a little different at the start, but after a couple shifts I’m sure it will be the same old game.”

     Brayden Schenn said he and his brother used to have “even” battles in their backyard rink while growing up in Saskatchewan.

      On Monday, Schenn centered a line with Max Talbot and Wayne Simmonds. Schenn and Simmonds came to the Flyers in the deal that sent Mike Richards to Los Angeles in the summer. Schenn said he has “a little more chemistry” with Simmonds because they played together a bit with the Kings.

     While Schenn is favored to win a the third-line center spot, Kessel is a long shot to break camp with the team. After playing three years at the University of New Hampshire, he signed a two-year entry-level deal for $1.85 million with the Flyers last Wednesday, then scored a goal and added an assist as the Flyers defeated Washington Thursday, 3-2, in a rookie game.

     Kessel's older brother, Phil, scored 32 goals last season. No word on whether he will dress Tuesday, but it seems likely because he didn't play on Monday.

      “It’d be nice to finally play against him after being around him so much all my life, and him always trying to help me,” Blake Kessel said. “It'd be nice to kind of put my skills to the test against him and see how things go. Hopefully I’ve learned enough that I can stop him if I play against him.”

    Coach Peter Laviolette didn't announce his lineup for Tuesday, but the lines he used in Monday's first group were expected to go to Toronto.

    The lines looked like this: Sean Couturier centering Matt Read and Jakub Voracek; Michael Nylander centering Scott Hartnell and Andreas Nodl; Schenn centering Talbot and Simmonds; and Blair Betts centering Jody Shelley and Adam Mair.

     After three days of drills, Laviolette is looking forward to a preseason game.

     "I think you get your best read on a situation or on players when they’re competing against others," he said. "This is our first crack at it and I think everyone’s excited to get going."

    Breakaways. Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start in goal. Ilya Bryzgalov and Michael Leighton will not make the trip.....Chris Pronger, making a comeback from back surgery, skated briefly with the team and appears to be ahead of schedule......Nine Flyers took batting practice before the Phillies game Monday, with James van Riemsdyk hitting a homer. JVR last played organized baseball in middle school. Bryzgalov said fans have been welcoming him and buying him coffee. He smiled and said it's now "on the house," but that it will be "double price" if he has a bad game.

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  Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter at BroadStBull.

 



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Sam Carchidi Inquirer Staff Writer
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