Another fresh start with Flyers for Schenn

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"I know that there's a lot of hockey left to be played this season," Brayden Schenn said. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

WESTMINSTER, Calif. - When Brayden Schenn was first demoted to Adirondack at the end of training camp on Oct. 6 - more as a salary-cap move couched as a rehab stint for his shoulder injury - Danny Briere pulled him aside with a simple message.

"Those are the things you can't control: You can't control injuries and you can't control the salary cap," Briere said. "The only thing you can control is how you play and where you keep your head."

Undoubtedly, this season hasn't started exactly the way Schenn hoped it would after his midsummer trade from Los Angeles that tabbed him as the next "can't miss" budding star. Starting tomorrow night in Anaheim, Schenn finally has a clean slate.

"I'm just looking forward to a fresh start," Schenn said yesterday after the Flyers' hour-plus skate at the Ducks' Westminster Ice facility. "I know that there's a lot of hockey left to be played this season."

Schenn, 20, started this season as the best prospect not currently playing in the NHL, according to most prognosticators and pundits. After a shoulder injury and fractured foot, it's almost as if he will return to the lineup with an under-the-radar perception, as if not much is expected of him based on his early return in four games.

The Flyers went 1-3-0 in those games, Schenn was held off the scoresheet and his minus-5 rating was the sour icing on the cake. Some even went as far to blame Schenn's return on Oct. 20 for a jumbling of Peter Laviolette's lines that put the Flyers in a funk.

But that's not the way Schenn's teammates view his game.

"I'm not worried at all with him," Briere said. "He's got too much talent and he plays hard. I think he's just one of those guys that needs to feel comfortable. I can understand that because I'm the same way. Once he feels comfortable, watch out!

"We can see it in practice, the way he can shoot, pass and skate the puck. I was pleasantly surprised that he can play with a mean streak, too."

Evidence of Schenn's talent - though it has not translated to the NHL level with just two assists in 13 career games with the Flyers and Kings - is plentiful in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Just last weekend, Schenn played three games on consecutive nights with the Phantoms, in his first action in more than 4 weeks, and posted two goals and two assists. In his first four career AHL games in October, Schenn forced the Flyers' hand with four goals and four assists.

In fact, Schenn has played 13 fewer games than his Phantoms counterparts this season and is still fifth in team scoring.

"I'm anxious to see him back in the lineup," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He's had tough luck here since the start of training camp. I think he played good in the three games for [Adirondack] over the weekend. The most important thing, for us, is that his foot held up."

Schenn skated on the fractured foot again yesterday on a line with Max Talbot and Jakub Voracek. He said he wouldn't have skated for the Phantoms if he wasn't ready. Three games in three nights helped test his endurance.

"Obviously the bone takes a lot longer to heal when you're skating on it," Schenn said. "Compared to what it was a week ago, it's close to 100 percent. I'm feeling pretty good."

Laviolette said Schenn can expect to see some time on the Flyers' power play. In practice, Schenn has helped quarterback the umbrella setup from the point at times.

"He played well, but he was hampered," Laviolette said of Schenn's initial four-game stint. "I'm sure he wants to jump in and get an opportunity to play 5-on-5 minutes to show what he can do. He'll be a contributing factor for our team."

 

No homecoming

Yes, the Anaheim Ducks are fielding offers for Cherry Hill native Bobby Ryan. But while we raised the possibility of it on our Frequent Flyers blog yesterday, it should be reiterated that the Flyers are a serious longshot to acquire him. They simply cannot afford him.

Ryan, 24, told the Orange County Register on Tuesday that he "wouldn't be surprised" if the Ducks were to move him. He is in the second year of a 5-year, $25.5 million contract.

Ryan, who has 11 points in 23 games this year after netting 71 last year, has been mismanaged by coach Randy Carlyle this season. Carlyle finds himself on the hot seat after the Ducks' putrid start, though a report last week said cash-strapped Anaheim could not afford to hire an outside replacement if he were to be fired.

 

Slap shots

Skating on the top power-play unit yesterday, Jaromir Jagr appears poised to make a second comeback attempt from a sore groin tomorrow. "I feel really good," Jagr said. "But it's just practice" . . . James van Riemsdyk, hampered by a slight muscular tear in his midsection, skated by himself yesterday before practice but remained stiff and upright, trying not to reinjure his abdominal region . . . Actor David Boreanaz, the Philly native from Fox's "Bones" show, donned Flyers equipment yesterday and briefly skated with the team after practice.

 


For more news and analysis,

read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

 

www.philly.com/FrequentFlyers.