Are the Flyers finally buying into Berube's system?
Brayden Schenn has three goals in his last two games, and leads the Flyers with 12 points. (USA Today Images)
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Take a hit, get a hit.
Mike Richards said that more than once as a Flyer in describing how a player can quickly get himself into a hockey game.
The former Flyers captain felt it was a helpful cure for scoring ills.
Brayden Schenn is picking up on it.
The 22-year-old forward has 18 hits over his last four games and three goals in his last two -- and now leads the club with 12 points (six goals).
“I’m getting more physical and more involved, and when I do that, it gets me in the game more and I’ve found move chemistry with my linemates, too,” Schenn said. “Playing with [Vinny] Lecavalier, it’s been awesome, and Simmer [Wayne Simmonds], too. Hopefully, we can build off these past couple games.”
With his sophomore jinx year behind him, Schenn feels he can turn the corner this season.
"Confidence is everything," he said. "You’re seeing different plays, you’re making different plays. For me, I try to keep chipping away here and build off the past week.”
Positioning is important, too. Schenn is playing more toward the paint and doing far less roaming in the slot. Closer to the net means closer to the action -- which is what coach Craig Berube expects from a player he feels has the same power forward abilities that James van Riemsdyk had.
Van Riemsdyk is gone now and playing very well in Toronto. Brayden Schenn is still here.
“We keep talking about [Schenn] being a power forward,” Berube said. “It’s the skating and physical play and getting to the net and shooting pucks and being a power forward. That is what I want him to become. To me, that is what he is.
“He is doing it right now. But you have to keep doing it. Stay on it. His feet have to move. You gotta be physical on the puck and get to the net.”
Berube says Schenn’s hitting can turn pucks over and create offense.
“Being physical is not running around and hitting guys when the puck is gone,” Berube said. “Being physical is getting there when the puck is there and knocking a guy off the puck. And getting the puck.”
Of course, it helps Schenn has Lecavalier and Simmonds on his line. The other thing is, he’s been moved from wing to center and back again. Truthfully, the Flyers themselves have never been quite sure where Schenn fits on this roster. Any of their rosters.
“It’s an adjustment,” Schenn said. “At center, you are always around the puck more. Always in the middle of the ice and helping out. On the wing, you stick a little more to your one side and it’s a bit of an adjustment.”
Tonight, the Flyers meet the Jets. Manitoba is where Schenn played his junior hockey at Brandon for three years.
“Any time I get to play in MTS Centre in front of this crowd, it’s always fun,” Schenn said. “A Friday night game here, it should be rocking. This is a good building to play in, an exciting place to play. When you can play back in Canada close to home, it’s always fun.”
General manager Paul Holmgren is not on the final leg of this road trip but assistant GM Ron Hextall is. … Hextall said he has not been contacted by Buffalo regarding the vacant GM spot, but it doesn’t matter because he is perfectly happy where he is right now. … Steve Mason is back in net tonight. The rotation here was deliberate. Had Mason played against the Penguins and Emery played this game, then Mason would not have had a start in five, full days. A No. 1 can’t do that.