DeNicola's Dekes: Beastly Blue Liners, Concussed Blue Liners, Undisciplined Blue Liners >

by Michael DeNicola

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 --

The Flyers need another fallen defenseman like Snookie needs another fertilized egg. Unfortunately for us, the former has happened yet again. This time it's a concussed Kent Huskins who suffered a head-hunting shot from the shoulder of Canadiens forward Ryan White in last night's 7 - 3 Philadelphia victory --

Only 6-minutes into the first frame, the play got wrapped behind Bryzgalov's net and was beginning to get pushed up ice. An unaware and defenseless Kent Huskins was met by a charging Ryan White who delivered a headshot that could arguably be an intent to injure. 

As the video shows, White came barreling through the right faceoff dot and propelled his upper body so that it may catch Huskins high. Immediately after contact, Kent crumpled to the ice with his arms extended outward signifying that he lost consciousness for a moment. His teammate Kurtis Foster skated in to deliver on-ice punishment, and wound up costing himself 4-minutes of minor penalties and a 10-minute misconduct -- he'd later return to the game in the second period.

Ryan White, on the other hand, was penalized with a 5-minute major and a game misconduct, thus ending his night on the ice. 

Not even a second into intermission, and already the report hit the wire --

Awesome. Just awesome. 

Our Flyers have dealt with injuries in prior seasons; sometimes a ridiculous amount. But this season has been unfathomable. For the past four weeks, it has almost been a gamely basis where one or more of our players get sidelined indefinitely with a significant injury. However, the bug hasn't hit us anywhere harder than it has on the blue line. 

Huskins shelves himself next to defenseman Braydon Coburn (shoulder), Andrej Meszaros (shoulder), Nicklas Grossmann (concussion), and Marc-Andre Bourdon (concussion-like symptoms).

Kent is a serviceable blue liner. In fact, I've been impressed with his solid play in the defensive zone, making wise decisions with the puck and his positioning, as well as executing disciplined plays. He's by no means a top-four d-man, but then again.... every single one of our blue liners has taken an enormous step into a bigger role this season due to 1) Philly not having a legitimate top-two pairing, and 2) all the injuries that have forced Philadelphia to start shoveling from the scrap heap. 

Nevertheless, Huskins will absolutely be missed in the remaining six games. 

As for Ryan White -- an upcoming restricted free agent, who's been nothing short of a nuiscence to his bench boss Michel Therrien -- has found himself scheduled to meet with the NHL's disciplinary committee, face-to-face --

An in-person hearing allows the Department of Player Safety to levy a suspension exceeding six games in length. As McKenzie noted on his Twitter account, an in-person hearing does not guarantee that the suspension will be that long. [Matt Brigidi, SB Nation]

White's hearing date is still unclear. 

With Huskins permanently out of commission this season, look for one of Danny Syvret or Andreas Lilja to be called up from the Adirondack Phantoms -- that is not per any official report, just my lone speculation.


Looks like my lone speculation couldn't be more wrong. 

Per The Checking Line - Flyers Edition, Phantoms defensemen Brandon Manning and Matt Konan have been called up for tonight's game against the New York Rangers.

* * * *

Out of the many negatives this season, there have been a diminutive amount of positives. Take for instance 22-year old defenseman Luke Schenn; the kid's a man-child, and has played that way all season long. Next to arguably Kimmo Timonen, Luke's been this Club's best blue liner through one of the ugliest schedules and defensive nightmares in recent memory. 

In last night's win over Les Habitants, #22 recorded five hits, four blocked shots, and.... ready? ......33-minutes and 25-seconds of time on the ice. Easily shattering whatever record of his that existed.

Luke is a goddamn beast. Through his trial & errors as a young NHL defenseman with the Flyers, Schenn has thrown 157-hits (ranked 4th), blocked 87-shots and averages 21:37 of on-ice time per game. 

Again, last night, his dominance never went a second unnoticed --

* * * *

Oliver "The Great Dane" Lauridsen has got to do himself and this Club a favor and learn to control his emotions. Last night, the 24-year old Danish blue liner got sent to the box back-to-back times for consecutive cross-checking penalties, allowing the Canadiens to capitalize on both man-advantages. 

I appreciate the snarl and intensity Oliver brings with his 6'6" frame, but much like an earlier Rinaldo, he's got to learn how to hinder those poignant explosions and deliver them much more effectively. 

I'm not overly frustrated with the first-year skater -- he's young and excited to get his chance with the big dogs. But now "The Great Dane" has more responsibility as the competition's talent levels have increased astonishingly. Faith is not short-lived with Oliver, I have plenty of it. I am sure, as experience molds his playing style, he'll be one hell of a presence in our zone and from our blue line. 

This offseason, it'd behoove Lauridsen to hit the weights, and hit them hard. Through his short stint with the NHL level, I've seen this kid get pushed around too easily. In last night's 3rd period, a Canadien skated over our goal line and handed Oliver a body-check that turned him into an airborne weeble-wobble. I cannot recall who dished out the blast, but they were smaller than Oliver. Much smaller.

Then again, who the hell said size matters....? 'Cause Timonen gaffs at that hilarity --


* * * *

Just for laughs...

While the Flyers were running up the Bell Centre's energy bill last night, one of our fans from our blog's Facebook page, Mike Bowers, replied to a post with this gem --

"Will Tomas Plekanec melt away if he plays a game without that stupid turtle neck? He looks like a human dildo."

Thanks for the LOLZ, Miguel. 

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Luke Schenn 04-15-2013.jpg 

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