September 21, 2011
Younger brothers get the better of Leafs' older siblingsReimer comes back to earth ... ACC employees forget Atlanta moved ... Leafs defence looks slow
By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - It was a Family Reunion Luke Schenn may want to forget.
The Maple Leafs defenceman was reunited Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre with his little brother Brayden, a forward acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers from Los Angeles in the off-season as part of the Mike Richards trade.
Big brother didn’t exactly show up little brother.
Luke, who signed a five-year, $18-million extension last week, finished the game a minus-two, with two giveaways and was in the penalty box for holding when Toronto-native Wayne Simmonds put the Flyers up 2-0 in the second period. To rub salt in the wound, Brayden, at age 20, one year younger than his bro, picked up an assist on that goal.
“I actually thought he played pretty well,” said Big Brother. “Nothing flashy, over-the-top, but I just think he played sound defensively, he won a lot of faceoffs (nine), was good on the penalty kill and made a few good plays. I think, being his first game, obviously a lot of nerves playing at the Air Canada Centre against Toronto, his first game for Philadelphia, I thought he did alright.”
Luke said he tried to get Brayden’s attention a few times on the ice during the game, but little brother wasn’t buying.
“He was all business,” Luke said.
Big Brother, on the other hand, looked plodding at times, including in the second period when Flyers forward and good Hamilton boy Zac Rinaldo swept around him for Philadelphia’s first goal.
CRAZY TWITTER NATION
Twitter Nation goes crazy when the Leafs play — at least in this part of the world — and Twitter Nation went crazy with praise for Leafs’ goaltender James Reimer after the scoreless first period. The exuberant tweeters — professional journalists and some amateurs — couldn’t tweet enough about how great Reimer looked and how, as many suggested, he “was in mid-season form.” But then Reimer let in four goals (on 22 shots) over the next two periods and suddenly the Vezina Trophy race is wide open.
MORE BROTHERLY LOVE
Leafs sniper Phil Kessel took a rare roughing penalty the first period, no doubt trying to show his little brother Blake, a Flyers defenceman, that he can be a tough guy. Phil Kessel’s great speed is never quite as evident when he’s (sort of) back checking, like when Philly’s Matt Read flew around him in the first period. Then again, Phil wasn’t the only Leaf caught flat-footed on a Read rush. Read also made Cody Franson appear stationary. Franson also looked slow on a James van Riemsdyk rush in the second, though van Riemsdyk took a goaltender interference penalty on the play.
HERE AND THERE
Jeff Finger seems to be taking slap shot lessons from Dion Phaneuf ... Nice video scoreboard tribute in the first period for former Leafs trainer Bob Haggert, who passed away this year ... More reasons for the rest of Canada to hate Toronto: The out-of-town scoreboard at the Air Canada Centre had the Thrashers playing the (Blue) Jackets on Tuesday. Apparently the ACC staff haven’t located Winnipeg on a map ... Philly minor leaguer Tom Sestito was a thorn in Toronto’s side all night, even dropped the gloves against Joffrey Lupul ... Finger, who spent all of last season with the Marlies, got a chance to play. He looked like Jeff Finger ... New Leafs centre Tim Connolly got some power play time on the point ... Simmonds stole the puck from Leafs defenceman Simon Gysbers on a Toronto power play, but Reimer made a good stop on the breakaway ... Flyers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made back to back good saves on Kessel rushes in the second.
GOOD AND NOT SO GREAT
Good games: Nazem Kadri, with some very fine passing. Joe Colborne, until a giveaway in the third period, which resulted in a Sean Couturier goal and 4-0 Philly lead. Not so good games: Luke Schenn and Franson, who really has to work on his skating if he expects to become a regular on the Leafs’ blue line. Actually, the entire Leafs defence looked slow on this night.