CITIZENS BANK PARK – It took 18 career games, a myriad of injuries to push through and a hockey stage never before seen in Philadelphia.
But in story tale fashion, in the second period of Monday’s Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park, Brayden Schenn earned his much anticipated and highly memorable first NHL goal.
“When it went in I kind of blacked out,” said Schenn, whose efforts were thwarted by a third-period Flyers collapse and eventual 3-2 Rangers win. “I got so excited. It’s good to get it out of the way and it was especially nice with my family in town and I’m sure my brother [Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn] was watching, too.”
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On Nov. 7, 2008, forward Steve Downie was shipped out of Philadelphia in a box labeled ‘lost cause.’
The Flyers groomed the 2005 first-round pick for three years, until they simply had enough. He took too many penalties, earned one too many suspensions and appeared as if he would never be able to ride the fence of tactful aggression and being a barbarian.
That was all true, until he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who transformed the young but chaotic talent into a player.
“He’s made a conscious effort to do that,” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told the Windsor Star with regards to Downie controlling himself. “We want to reassure to him that he is a good player and his play in the playoffs is showing that. He’s got great hockey sense, he’s got good skills and he sees the ice very well. We want him on the ice, we don’t want him in the penalty box. We try to encourage him to do that and I think he understands that.”
Chris Pronger made his presence felt in a big way during his first season with the Flyers — and the team awarded him accordingly. The 16-year veteran took home the Bobby Clarke Award as the Flyers’ most valuable player. He also snagged the Barry Ashbee Trophy as the team’s top defensemen.
Pronger is coming off one of the best statistical seasons of his career by tallying 10 goals and 45 assists in 81 games. He also leads the team in plus/minus with a plus-22 rating.
According to the initial report on Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, the gritty blue-liner was all-but signed pending a passed physical. Well, the physical results are in, but Tollefsen remains just “a player of interest.”
“He checked out OK,” General Manager Paul Holmgren told the media.
Anthony SanFilippo of the Delco Times is reporting that former Columbus defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen will be in town by the end of the weekend for a physical. And if the 6’2, 211 lbs. blue liner passes all that’s thrown at him, he will become the newest Flyer.
Aside from gaining a proven winner and needed physical presence on the defensive end, newly acquired defenseman Chris Pronger gives the Flyers something they desperately lacked for the past two seasons — the ability to counter the Penguins.
With Pronger in the mix, the Flyers are instant Stanley Cup contenders. The sudden legitimacy is due to the new-found ability to shut down the opposition’s top-two scoring lines, but specifically, the most potent two-line duo in the league.