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FAMILY CIRCUS

Playing in Toronto is always a distraction for visiting players
Monday, 02.11.2013 / 4:07 PM
By Anthony SanFilippo - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter / Flyers Inside Out
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FAMILY CIRCUS

TORONTO – If media members were water bugs, the Air Canada Centre exterminator would have had a field day this morning.

They came out en masse, clogging the Flyers locker room like a ball of hair stuck in the shower drain.

With the spotlights atop the cameras blinding his eyes, Luke Schenn stood there for several minutes, dutifully answering every question.

It was his homecoming part one. Part two would be after the game.

This is what happens when a kid joins a team as a wide-eyed 18-year-old fresh out of junior hockey, bearing the weight of the world on his shoulders as the fifth overall pick in the draft and donned with the title as the next great defenseman in the NHL, playing in the most hockey-centric market in the world.

“There’s no market like Toronto,” he said.

And he’s right, for better or for worse.

“There’s a lot that comes into it, when you’re involved in a big market like Toronto or Philadelphia,” said his brother Brayden Schenn, who stood off to the side of the side of the pack of microphones, cameras and inquisitors surrounding his brother.

Then, with a half-cocked smile, Brayden proclaimed his brother would come through this scrutiny all right.

“He knows,” Brayden said. “He’s been around this media circus, or scrum, for the last 4 years.”

It looks like little brother was right, as Luke deflected more needling questions with aplomb, like a veteran tennis player calmly returning a big, booming serve.

For instance, when asked to categorize his time in Toronto based on success, Luke took the high road.

“I’m not going to get into it too much, whether it was a success or not a success,” Luke said. “I had a great experience in Toronto, I’m very thankful for the opportunity. It’s a great experience, it’s an awesome place. I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It was a great place to play hockey, to experience this market. It’s cool just being back in Toronto. Obviously, they moved on. I’m pretty happy in my new place.”

Four ‘experiences’ in one quote. It was a deft dodge on his part, but subtly – and perhaps subconsciously – it was an apt description.

For his time in Toronto was in fact an experience.

For two seasons he was considered a top defenseman. For two seasons, he had his minutes dashed. He was also a healthy scratch, and was often the target of the ire of the fans on local talk radio and even in the print media.

So a new location was a welcome change. And now he’s flourishing in Philadelphia.

“Luke has been rock solid since he’s arrived,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “He’s been a real force for us defensively with his defensive presence and his physical play and his shot blocking. These are things he is doing real well in our end. He’s been a real good fit.”

And he’s been good for Brayden too.

The brothers are very close – always have been. But, when they were playing in different cities, they would only get a chance to see each other for a couple months in the summer every season.

Now, they live in the same condo complex in Philadelphia and see each other morning, noon, and night – just like the good old days in Saskatchewan.

“We’re pretty much together 24/7,” Brayden said. “From breakfast right through supper - we do it all. We’re not sick of each other yet.”

……………………………………….

Another part of the circus of coming to Toronto is the opportunity for players to play in front of friends and family.

This is no different for the Flyers, who had to buy a ton of tickets to get their loved ones into the ACC for the game.

Four players specifically grew up within an easy drive from the downtown arena.

Wayne Simmonds is from Scarborough, which is like being from Bristol. Matt Read has 10 people coming to see him tonight. He’s from Ilderton, which is a suburb of London, but is a quick two-hour drive from Toronto.

Zac Rinaldo is from Mississauga, which is as close to Toronto as Ridley is from Philly. He has 10 people coming as well.

But the big winner on the ticket front tonight is Tye McGinn, who is from Fergus, a little more than an hour northwest of Toronto. He had to buy 20 tickets for the game.

“This is the first chance a lot of my friends and family have had a chance to see me play,” McGinn said. “I’m really excited to play here and I’m excited for them too.”

To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email asanfilippo@comcast-spectacor.com or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
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11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 82 28 58 7 86
J. Voracek 82 23 39 11 62
W. Simmonds 82 29 31 -4 60
S. Hartnell 78 20 32 11 52
M. Streit 82 10 34 3 44
B. Schenn 82 20 21 0 41
M. Read 75 22 18 -4 40
S. Couturier 82 13 26 1 39
V. Lecavalier 69 20 17 -16 37
K. Timonen 77 6 29 5 35
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 33 18 7 .917 2.50
R. Emery 9 12 2 .903 2.96
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