Schenn was apologetic about the sequence at the Flyers’ morning skate Friday at Verizon Center, acknowledging he made a mistake in Game 4.
“All I’m going to say about that is it was a pretty dumb play by me,” Schenn said. “There’s no reason for that, and I’ll leave it at that.”
The Flyers enter Game 5 of this Stanley Cup playoff series trailing the Capitals, 3-1, but hopeful they can take another game from the Presidents’ Trophy winners and return to Philadelphia Sunday for Game 6. They also seemed mostly unconcerned with Washington’s potential response to Schenn’s cross-check, even though Capitals wing Tom Wilson said Thursday it would be “a little piece of motivation we can use.”
Schenn has been in the middle of the fray often this series, delivering several hard hits that have drawn the ire of the Capitals and their fans alike. Coach Barry Trotz referred to the latest incident involving Kuznetsov as “a dangerous play” and “disrespectful,” and said he mentioned it to on-ice officials Wednesday. He also told the NHL officiating supervisor assigned to this series that it was the second such incident during this first-round matchup, and referenced a Game 2 cross-check by Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds on Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.
When asked about Schenn’s hit on Kuznetsov at a meeting with Associated Press Sports Editors Friday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said typically complaints are first brought to an officiating supervisor and then reviewed by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.
“Obviously, they made a decision that didn’t warrant any discipline,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who also attended Friday’s meeting. “I don’t think either one of us have heard from Washington about it, so it must not be too big of a deal.”
Simmonds said Friday he approved of the officiating in Game 4. He called Philadelphia’s ability to play physical and stay out of the penalty box — and keep Washington’s vaunted power play on the bench — the difference between Wednesday and the first three games of the postseason.
“The refs didn’t call as much, pretty much,” Simmonds said. “To be honest with you, they let a lot of things go on both teams and I think that’s the way playoff hockey should be. So I thought last game was actually a well-refereed game.”
Flyers Coach Dave Hakstol didn’t directly address the controversy surrounding Schenn’s hit, but defended his team’s style. The Flyers believe they’ve matched the Capitals at even strength through four games, and “I wouldn’t use the word ‘feeling-out process’ with anything involved in the series at this point,” he noted.
“I’m not too worried. We’ll always listen if the league brings something to us,” Hakstol said. “We take a lot of pride in playing the game the right way and playing hard. You guys know it by now. I’m not getting involved with any of that stuff. We’re going to evaluate ourselves, make sure we’re doing things the right way and, most importantly, playing the way we need to play to be successful in this series.”
Notes: Forward Scott Laughton won’t be in the Flyers’ lineup Friday after that scary spill into the boards during Game 4, but forward Pierre Edouard-Bellemare is expected to return after serving a one-game suspension for his hit on Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov at the end of Game 3. … Goalie Michal Neuvirth will get the start in net for the second straight game. He stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced in Philadelphia’s 2-1 win Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center. This will be Neuvirth’s second appearance at Verizon Center since being traded by the Capitals in March 2014. He allowed three goals on 30 shots when the Flyers beat Washington, 4-3, in overtime on Jan. 27.