By HOWARD BERGER
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 24) – It was a perfect line, delivered with the straight face of an actor: “No media today, guys, I’m not feeling well.”
If Ben Scrivens was hoping to stop reporters in their tracks this morning, it worked… for a brief moment. Then came the engaging, mischievous smile that fans of the AHL Toronto Marlies are growing accustomed to. Scrivens, bent over his skates while sitting in the visitors’ dressing room at Wells Fargo Center, welcomed the usual media horde from back home and spoke about how exciting it was to be here in Philadelphia for tonight’s Leafs-Flyers game – albeit with a return ticket likely before Thursday. With James Reimer recovering from a whiplash injury sustained in Montreal on Saturday, Scrivens will dress as back-up to starting goalie Jonas Gustavsson. Leafs coach Ron Wilson expects Reimer will be fit enough to return for Thursday’s road trip finale in New York, sending Scrivens back to his No. 1 role with the Marlies.
Meanwhile, the arena this morning was over-run by Schenns. Brothers Luke and Brayden skated with their respective teams, while parents and sisters watched from the seats. Luke Schenn and Brayden Schenn will finally meet in a regular-season NHL game tonight; Brayden having been acquired by Philadelphia from Los Angeles in the Mike Richards trade last June. The Schenn brothers squared off in a pre-season game here in September, but tonight is the real deal. All family members are pumped.
Enjoy these images from around the rink this morning:
SWEATY BUT EXCITED, LEAFS DEFENSEMAN LUKE SCHENN (ABOVE) RETURNS TO VISITORS’ DRESSING ROOM AFTER THE MORNING SKATE TODAY.
JEFF AND RITA SCHENN (ABOVE) HAVE FLOWN IN FROM SASKATOON TO SEE THEIR SONS – LUKE AND BRAYDEN – PLAY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE NHL. THE ENTIRE SCHENN FAMILY IS HERE (BELOW), INCLUDING (LEFT TO RIGHT) YOUNGER SISTERS MACY AND MADISON.
GOALIE BEN SCRIVENS, WORKING ON A TIP-DRILL THIS MORNING WITH COLTON ORR (ABOVE), WILL BACK-UP JONAS GUSTAVSSON TONIGHT, HAVING BEEN RECALLED LATE YESTERDAY FROM THE AHL TORONTO MARLIES.
FROM THE VISITORS’ BENCH AT THE WELLS FARGO CENTER (ABOVE), SCRIVENS WORKS WITH COACHES AND TEAMMATES TOWARD THE END OF TODAY’S MORNING SKATE, THEN FLASHES HIS TRADEMARK SMILE (BELOW) WHILE LEAVING THE ICE.
THERE ARE ALWAYS EXTRA STICKS ON THE BENCH FOR SKATES AND PRACTICES.
NOT SURE WHY, BUT I’M DEVELOPING A PHOTOGRAPHIC FETISH FOR ARENA CEILINGS THAT OOZE HOCKEY AND BASKETBALL HISTORY, SUCH AS THE ONE HERE IN PHILLY.
ANYONE, LIKE ME, THAT MARVELS AT THE BOUNDLESS ENERGY OF LEAFS-TV GURU PAUL (THE POET) HENDRICK CAN NOW BE LET IN ON THE SECRET: HENNY (ABOVE RIGHT) IS ABLE TO GRAB QUICK CAT-NAPS DURING THE DAY, EVEN WHILE TAKING PART IN THE COACH’S MEDIA SCRUM.
I COVERED MY FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL IN 1985, WHEN THE FLYERS TOOK ON WAYNE GRETZKY AND THE EDMONTON OILERS. GAMES HERE IN PHILLY WERE PLAYED AT THE OLD SPECTRUM, LOCATED IN THE VERY SPOT I WAS STANDING (ABOVE) EARLIER TODAY, ACROSS FROM THE WELLS FARGO CENTER. HOME OF THE FLYERS FROM THEIR INCEPTION IN 1967 THROUGH THE END OF THE 1995-96 SEASON, THE SPECTRUM WAS DEMOLISHED MORE THAN A YEAR AGO. THERE’S A BETTER VIEW, BELOW, OF THE PARKING LOT THAT OCCUPIES ITS FORMER LOCATION.
NIFTY VIEW (ABOVE) FROM MY HOTEL ROOM THIS MORNING: EMPTY CITIZEN’S BANK PARK, HOME OF THE BASEBALL PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES. LEAFS AND FLYERS (LINE-UPS BELOW) FACE-OFF AT 7 P.M. ON LEAFS-TV.