Syvret excited for 'home' game

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:57 AM ET

Everyone, Danny Syvret notes, has been in their element this NHL preseason.

Rob Schremp picked up a power-play assist for Edmonton in an exhibition opener against Calgary.

Flames forward Brandon Prust, of course, got into a tussle against the Oilers.

"I was talking to Ryan Rishaug of TSN and he told me Schrempy looked pretty good and Prusty got into a fight (Tuesday)," the 24-year-old former London Knights star said yesterday from Detroit. "We're all best buddies and hopefully we all get our chance at the same time this year (to get regular NHL roles)."

Syvret, the mobile pro defenceman, re-signed for one year with Philadelphia late in the summer.

He's certainly returning to a familiar and comfortable spot.

He is expected to suit up for the Flyers tonight at the John Labatt Centre in a preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Syvret is no stranger -- he lives in London during the offseason.

He was the first to raise the Memorial Cup in 2005 as captain of the Knights.

On that same JLC ice last month, he was presented the Euro Can Cup as the leader of the Pro Knights squad that won the pre-training camp exhibition tournament played here.

"The adrenaline will be pumping pretty good," Syvret said. "It'll be nice to play at home again in the building I grew up in."

This, if it pans out, was a long time coming.

Philly has a pretty substantial list of ex-Knights under its command.

The Flyers, through its Global Spectrum affiliation, make it a point of playing in London nearly every year now.

But though they usually roll out Londoner Jeff Carter for the game, they have a maddening habit of leaving most Knights guys behind in the City of Brotherly Love.

Hard-hitting Zac Rinaldo, for instance, didn't take the flight to Detroit ahead of last night's preseason opener with the Red Wings.

How interesting would it be to see if the OHL's notorious penalty-minute king would take a run at Toronto first-rounder Nazem Kadri, a potential Knights' linemate this year, in tonight's game?

Or how about a return by gifted Pat Maroon, who scored 23 goals for the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms last season?

He wasn't on the trip, either. It could have been a chance to show Londoners who thought he underachieved here how far he's come.

Everyone knows what Syvret offers a team.

He wants London to be the launching pad to a regular NHL job.

"I just have to play my game," he said. "I add a little offence but I feel like I take care of my own end pretty well, too. I had to prove that I can be a good American Hockey League player and I think I did that last year.

"The next step is to be a regular in the NHL and the first thing is to win a job and start the season there."

Though the Leafs toughened up under GM Brian Burke, Philly still corners the market on mean.

"You notice it," Syvret said. "They already had (Aaron) Asham, (Daniel) Carcillo, (Riley) Cote and then added Ian Laperriere from Colorado. There's toughness."

Don't forget new goalie Ray Emery, who can throw and take a punch. The Flyers aren't in the kind of re-tooling stage that presents the 18-year-old Kadri with a shot at cracking the Leafs roster this year.

"You look at The Hockey News and other publications and the Flyers are being touted as a team to make it to the Stanley Cup," Syvret said, "so this is a good place to be. I know if I get the chance, I'm going to have to be on my game every night.

"There are still some strong teams in the Western (Conference) but you can see a how the power has shifted a bit to the East. There are a lot of good teams, especially right in our division."

His point is well taken. Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin are a handful for any blue-liner.

The Philly counterpoint to those young stars, of course, is new Flyer veteran defender Chris Pronger. He and Syvret share agent Pat Morris.

"He's an elite defenceman in this league and has been for a long time," Syvret said. "We worked a lot on systems in camp and really only had one scrimmage but you could even see in it that his arms and stick are so long, there's nowhere to go to get around him."

ryan.pyette@sunmedia.ca


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