Game 6: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia FlyersEnter Brayden Schenn

Game 6: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia FlyersEnter Brayden Schenn

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.

Other Notes:
(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.

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers' return

Steve Mason rediscovers himself in New York just before Flyers' return

It had been a while since Steve Mason saw himself.

Walking into the Barclays Center on Sunday, the Flyers’ goalie was 0-6-2 with a 4.03 goals-against average and .844 save percentage over his last 10 appearances (see more recent Flyers numbers and stats).

A far cry of how Mason truly sees himself in net.

But heading into Wednesday’s rivalry clash with the Rangers, Mason will have something to build on, something he couldn’t say since Dec. 21 - the last previous time he had earned a victory. He’s fresh off his first win in over a month, a massive one for Mason considering all the key moments on Sunday the Flyers hope invigorate his confidence.

Without numerous clutch stops from their goalie, the Flyers don’t come back from two goals down to beat the Islanders, 3-2, in overtime. Mason made four saves  — three on four-time All-Star John Tavares — in just over a minute of a third-period power play. The Flyers ended up having to kill two New York man advantages in the final 10 minutes of regulation in order to force overtime.

The extra session is when Mason was just as good, if not better, stoning Tavares on a breakaway attempt that had game-winner written all over it. Mason made four saves in overtime after 13 in the third period.

“I was happy with the way that, personally, this game went for myself,” Mason said Sunday. “It’s been a tough stretch and this is more the type of game that I expect of myself. In recent games, the team was lacking the big saves and tonight it shows what kind of difference it can make.”

It was a massive performance heading into a massive three-game stretch against the Rangers, Maple Leafs and Hurricanes.

“Mase made some huge saves for us,” Simmonds said. “It allowed us to get back in that game.

“It’s not just Mase [with the] ups and downs. Everyone in here has been kind of fighting it and squeezing sticks pretty tight. That one felt good and I think Mase led the charge for sure.”

Mason understands just one game doesn’t turn around a season.

“It’s nice to feel good after a game,” Mason said. “At the same time, whether you’re winning or losing, you have to have a short mindset and get ready for the next one.”

That brings the Flyers to Madison Square Garden Wednesday to face the Rangers, who they’ve lost five straight games to dating back to last season. Mason hasn’t had much luck against New York this season, allowing seven goals in two losses with an .860 save percentage. However, in 2015-16, Mason put up a 1.74 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in five games against the Rangers.

“That’s going to be a tough game going into MSG,” Mason said Tuesday (see story).

The good thing: Mason was in New York two days ago, remembering what he can be.

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

ap-bol-bol.jpg
AP Images

Manute Bol's 7-foot, 17-year-old son dominates in HS season debut

Bol Bol, the 17-year-old son of the late Manute Bol, is a top high school basketball prospect with offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas and Creighton. This highlight tape should give you an idea why.
 
Bol, whose father played in the NBA for parts of 12 seasons, including 215 games for the Sixers, now attends the famed Mater Dei High School in California and played in his first game of the season this past weekend. Listed as the No. 16 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class by Scout, Bol started his season off with a big 21-point, 10-rebound effort.
 
Take a look at the highlight tape from the 6-foot-11 Bol and expect to see him carry on his father’s legacy on the court at a major NCAA college basketball program soon.