THICK HEADED

Brayden Schenn lucky after scary head-first crash into the boards

Wednesday, 12.18.2013 / 3:44 PM
Anthony SanFilippo  - Philadelphia Flyers Inside Reporter

VOORHEES, N.J. – The fact that Brayden Schenn was standing in the locker room talking about what happened to him some 16 hours earlier was fortunate enough.

He stood there, hands in his pockets, addressing an incident he couldn’t remember.

However, having watched the replay several times since, he admits that coming away mostly unscathed from a brutal check into the boards by Washington’s Tom Wilson is pretty darn lucky.

“It was pretty tough to watch last night,” Schenn said. “I feel I got really lucky. I don't think I have ever gone head-first into the boards without even getting my arms up or anything like that. I don't remember much of the play.

“All I remember was how hard the top of my head actually hit the boards. I don't remember trying to get up or anything. But the good thing is I don't have a headache or any [concussion] symptoms today, so that's a positive sign.”

It’s also a positive that Schenn is able to lace up a pair of skates and can consider playing hockey as soon as tomorrow. After all, the hit was delivered with such violence and speed that not only did Schenn face plant against the boards, but his head jammed into his neck a bit, causing stiffness and soreness today. But it could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse.

“You know, these new Bauer helmets have that extra layer of padding in them that is supposed to cushion the blow a little bit,” Schenn said. “I don’t know if that’s what happened to me, but I hit the top of my head flush, so the fact I was able to walk away with just a little stiffness is pretty lucky.

Schenn will test out his neck on the Wells Fargo Center ice in the morning, and is currently being listed as questionable for the game against Columbus.

If he can’t go, Jay Rosehill will enter the lineup as general manager Paul Holmgren said he wouldn’t be calling up a replacement for Schenn for the Adirondack Phantoms because the team is at its roster limit and this is not an injured reserve list kind of injury.

Meanwhile, Wilson will have to deal with a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety tomorrow to determine if there will be any supplemental discipline for the hit.

Wilson received a major penalty for charging and was slapped with a game misconduct (he also had a fighting major to boot).

And yet, the hit has been a polarizing topic of conversation.

Many supporters of the Capitals and Wilson feel it was a clean hit. Caps general manager George McPhee called it a “great hit.” Their coach, Adam Oates, didn’t think it was even a penalty.

And yet, folks around the Flyers think the hit was much more egregious.

“Everybody has an opinion,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “It’s polarizing because it looks bad. Brayden may have put himself in an awkward position, but we’re pretty happy that he’s O.K… The onus falls more on the player coming to make the hit when a player is turning awkwardly at the boards. [Turning away] is a tactic these days. Jaromir Jagr has been doing it for years and has had some great success doing it. Sometimes I think the guy going in to make that hit has to go in a contain mode not in a hit mode. It’s a learning process because there’s tremendous speed in the game. “

Flyers coach Craig Berube also wasn’t a fan of the hit, calling Wilson’s actions reckless and he feels that anyone defending the hit – like Oates and McPhee, are doing so as a way of shielding their player from controversy.

“You’ve got to control yourself out there,” Berube said. “That’s just the way it is nowadays. He goes in there recklessly. You got to control your speed the way the game is played today. These guys come in here so fast. A guy turns the wrong way. That is basically what happened.

“It’s up to the individual to control himself. I say the same thing to our players all the time. You’ve got to control your hitting. You can’t run around recklessly because there are plays like that [which] happened.”

Wilson did reach out to Schenn via text message to apologize and Schenn thanked him for the effort.

“He’s a classy guy, and obviously, his intention wasn’t to hurt me or hit me like that,” Schenn said. “Things happen quick out there.”

Schenn and Wilson are also represented by the same player agency.

“People said I saw him coming,” Schenn said. “He was coming in pretty quick, pretty fast and maybe I did see him for a split second, but I don’t really remember the play very much at all.

“Once I got the puck, he did take a couple hard strides around the dot area and finished his check.”

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NOTES: The Flyers held an optional practice and a little more than half the team participated… Steve Mason roomed with former Flyers R.J. Umberger for five years when the duo were in Columbus, but this is the first time they will see each other since Mason was traded to the Flyers last April. They are having dinner together tonight in Philadelphia. More on Mason against his former team tomorrow… The newest Flyer Chris Vandevelde actually pronounces the “e” at the end of his name. All of the broadcasters with the Flyers and the Capitals the past two games – including the national NBC SportsNet crew – have been pronouncing it wrong because it was listed wrong in the league pronunciation guide… Meanwhile, Michael Raffl pronounces his name “Rah-full” not “Raffle.” Go figure.

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

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