Brayden Schenn takes ugly hit in Flyers' victory

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Brayden Schenn takes ugly hit in Flyers' victory

Fifteen minutes into the second period, Brayden Schenn turned toward the back boards and was drilled by Caps winger Tom Wilson, who was accelerating from the blue line in.

The hit was so hard Schenn laid there, tried to get up, and couldn’t (see video), as Nick Grossmann jumped Wilson and a scrum ensued.

Schenn crawled out, got between the top of the faceoff circles and fell again before trainer Jim McCrossin came off the bench to help him off the ice.

Schenn fell three times to the ice (see 10 observations).

“Ugly hit and he kind of turned into it, too,” Jakub Voracek said. “He hit him full speed. It’s a hit the league is trying to take out of the game.”

Wilson got a five-minute major for charging and game misconduct. The Flyers scored twice on their ensuing five-minute power play and it changed the parameters of the game in their favor as they won 5-2 over Washington on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).

Though he appeared to have suffered a concussion, Schenn, according to coach Craig Berube, was “all right.”

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren would not address the media, only saying Schenn had an upper-body injury. Holmgren did tell CSNPhilly.com that he would “know more [Wednesday].”

If Schenn was concussed, it may take a full day for symptoms to manifest itself.

“It’s a reckless play, a hit from behind like that, but he’ll be all right,” Berube said. “Players are a lot faster, but I think taking interference out of the game where you can’t ride them or hold them off, they’re coming with a lot of speed.

“Guys go in there and they’re not protecting themselves very well. They turn and, basically, that is what happens 80 percent of the time. I don’t know if that was the issue tonight. I don’t think a lot of them are intentional, but guys are skating hard and fast and [someone] turns, you hit the guy, it’s a tough play. That’s the biggest reason.”

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety will review everything on Wednesday before "Lord of Discipline," Brendan Shanahan, makes a ruling -- if any.

Berube said he spoke to Schenn after the period and “he seemed OK,” though he could not determine whether Schenn underwent a concussion exam (baseline testing).

While the Internet exploded with people demanding Wilson get suspended, keep in mind that the NHL often overlooks suspensions if a player wasn’t concussed.

Caps general manager George McPhee told CSNPhilly.com he doesn’t expect a suspension for Wilson.

“It was a great hit,” McPhee said. “I don’t expect anything.”

Caps coach Adam Oates felt the same way.

“I thought it was a clean hit, I really do,” Oates said. “I watched it live, I saw it on the Jumbotron, I watched it again between periods.

“He had changed, he went across the ice, he slowed down, saw Schenn come out of the pile with the puck, took two quick strides.

“Schenn saw him at the last second and he hit him in the arm. He’s a big, strong guy. He hit him hard, yeah, to me it’s a clean hit. I don’t think it’s a penalty at all.”

Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said the same thing.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think it was a dirty play,” Ovechkin said. “He saw him coming. He turned and Willy’s a big boy. It’s always dangerous play out there, but it’s hockey.

“When you get a hit, you have to be ready, especially today. I don’t think [Schenn] was ready. Willy finished his check and I don’t think it was two minutes. It was a good hit.”

Flyers captain Claude Giroux said he didn’t see the hit live and had to go to replay.

“It’s a dangerous play and hopefully he’ll be fine,” Giroux said.

Goalie Steve Mason watched Schenn fall twice more to the ice trying to get to the bench.

“You don’t like to see that, especially when it’s your teammate,” Mason said. “We’re all hoping that it’s nothing serious for Brayden.

“He is obviously a key part to this team and when you see a guy struggling like that, you never know if it’s for his head.

“The way that this game is played now, injuries happen like that and nobody likes to see it, especially when it’s a guy on your own team.”

Elements will play factor for both Flyers, Penguins in outdoor game

Elements will play factor for both Flyers, Penguins in outdoor game

PITTSBURGH -- The ice on Friday afternoon at Heinz Field was watery and slushy.
 
That’s because the city set a historic record at 78 degrees for Feb. 24.
 
So what were the ice conditions?
 
“They were pretty good,” said Sidney Crosby. “It was pretty bright there. Started off the practice and the sun was beating down pretty good.
 
“I’ve played in a few of these and the ice was pretty good considering how warm it was. It’s supposed to cool down and I’m sure it will get better.”
 
The Penguins will host the Flyers on Saturday night in a Stadium Series outdoor game.
 
Pittsburgh took the ice Friday at 4 p.m. The Flyers got on the ice a little more than an hour later and things started to cool down.
 
“We had a pretty good practice given the circumstances,” Jakub Voracek said. “This is a little better setup than Philly. The fans are closer.”
 
It was much hotter when Pittsburgh took the ice, but the temperature was still warm after the sun went down.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere said, “It was hot for sure. … It was fun, but it was pretty hot.”
 
Defenseman Radko Gudas said the ice surface was, “playable, but a little rough.”
 
On Saturday, rain is expected, with temperatures falling to 42 degrees by 5 p.m.
 
During the game, which begins at 8 p.m., the temperature is projected to continue to drop and there will be wind gusts up to 31 mph. By the end of the night, the forecast says temps will be in the 20s. 

Players are more concerned about the wind than the ice at this point. Crosby, who has played in three previous NHL outdoor games, said wind is a huge factor. It happened to the Penguins at the 2014 Stadium Series game in Chicago.
 
“It can definitely be a factor,” Crosby said. “I want to say in Chicago that was something we kind of had to look at. We felt it a little more there compared to the other two [outdoor games]. If it going to get windy like that, it’s something to be aware of.”
 
It remains to be seen how the NHL will handle which team goes into the wind first.
 
“Yeah, the wind,” Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet of what element will be a big factor. “I hope you don’t have to backcheck. Who gets the advantage? They change in the third period. But who picks what end? There is a wind factor.”
 
Tocchet rated the ice Friday as “a little slushy.”
 
“It was good early and then it got tough because it was hot outside,” Tocchet said. “But we got a half-decent practice out of it.
 
“The one thing, the puck didn’t bounce, which was good. Players can adapt a lot better when the puck doesn’t bounce. When things bounce, it’s a tough night.”

Flyers GM Ron Hextall on trade deadline: 'We're not buying'

Flyers GM Ron Hextall on trade deadline: 'We're not buying'

PITTSBURGH -- When asked Friday night at Heinz Field whether the Flyers would be buyers or sellers at next Wednesday’s NHL trade deadline, Ron Hextall didn’t flinch.
 
He was adamant he won’t be a buyer. He also intimated he’s looking to sell and that these next two games before the deadline could impact that decision.
 
“We’ll see,” Hextall said. “We’re not buying. I’ve said that for a while now. We’re not buying. We’ll see where we’re at in a couple days. Like I said, tomorrow’s a big game. I have ideas and we’ll execute them depending.
 
“We’ll be making calls and getting calls and we’ll see what’s out there and see where we’re at as a team in the standings and make the appropriate moves.”
 
The Flyers also play Colorado on Tuesday, the day before the deadline.

“It could have some effect, it could,” Hextall said on whether the next two games will impact his decision-making at the deadline. “We’ll watch the standings closely and what we’re doing tomorrow night.”

Hextall made his comments Friday night while the Flyers practiced on the outdoor ice at Heinz Field for Saturday’s Stadium Series game against the Penguins.
 
The most obvious candidates for the Flyers to move at the deadline are defensemen Mark Streit and Michael Del Zotto and goalie Michal Neuvirth.
 
More than 10 NHL clubs have been scouting the Flyers regularly over the past month, home and away (see story).
 
Hextall has been saying for months he doesn’t like to make decisions based on “small samples.” Yet the Flyers have been very inconsistent the entire season, save for a 10-game win streak between November and mid-December.
 
They are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Of those seven losses, they have scored one or no goals six times. What does that say?
 
“It tells me we have to be more consistent,” Hextall replied. “It tells me what we’re capable of and at times we’re not playing anywhere near to that level. That’s been frustrating.
 
“I like our team. We’ve got some good players, but the consistency part, we have to level that out for sure, especially from now to the end of the year.”
 
Some NHL clubs -- Pittsburgh last season and Chicago this season -- have promoted scores of younger players onto their roster. The Flyers promoted Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny this season.
 
Why not promote some players from the Phantoms right now?

“Not to make us a worse team,” Hextall said. “If we make something happen and if we can bring someone up and we take a lateral move, yeah, that’s kind of where you want to get to.

“That’s why you don’t want to bring kids up, 20-year-olds that aren’t ready to play. You mentioned Pitt there, their guys that helped them last year are all 23 now except for the goalie. Keep that in mind. They were kids, but 23-year-old kids.”

The Phantoms are having a good season. They could go far in the AHL playoffs. Hextall said that wouldn’t prevent him from bringing players up, even if it hurt the Phantoms’ chances.

“Is it a factor? I guess at the bottom,” Hextall said. “My job is to do what’s best for the Flyers. Part of what’s best for the Flyers is having the best team down there that we can have to grow kids in a winning environment.
 
“That’s part of it. I wouldn’t not bring a kid up that’s ready to play because he’d be leaving the Phantoms, assuming you have a roster spot and cap space and the things that come along with that.”
 
Loose pucks
Jordan Weal (concussion symptoms) could play Saturday Hextall said. ... Konecny (ankle and knee) is ahead of schedule and could be back in four weeks or less instead of six weeks. He skated at least four times this week on his own.