After about two months of debate, of games, healthy scratches and a conditioning assignment, Brayden Schenn finally learned his future this week, when the Kings decided to assign him to his junior team, Brandon of the WHL. Schenn ended up playing eight games for the Kings (with two assists) but didn’t get in an NHL game after Oct. 30. His short-term future will be with the Canadian national team as he prepares for the World Junior Championships, which start on Dec. 26 in Buffalo.
Schenn hung around the locker room today after practice, chatting with his Kings teammates for the last time, and the disappointment was evident as he discussed the Kings’ choice…
Question: Did management have any particular message to you?
SCHENN: “I guess I’ll go down to junior, for a couple days anyways, and then we’ll have the World Juniors and I’ll be a part of Canada and help try to win gold. Then I guess I’ll take it from there, go down there and just try to be bigger and stronger and ready for next year.”
Question: Is there a certain level of disappointment there?
SCHENN: “Absolutely, I’m disappointed. I haven’t really played a game with this team since Oct. 30. Just being around here and stuff, I think I’ve gotten better since Oct. 30, the last time I played a game with this team. It would have been nice to get another chance, but I’ll just have to wait until next year. Another year of junior, obviously it’s disappointing but I guess in the long run it will never hurt.”
From the start of the season, Terry Murray consistently said that the Schenn decision rested in the hands of management, and Murray didn’t vary from that message today but did give his thoughts on Schenn and how he can improve…
MURRAY: “Well, I don’t have much of a comment on what management’s decisions are. With Schenn, it’s going and playing and learning how to play the game, and getting himself prepared for next year. That starts now for him. That’s the most important thing that he take with him, from my perspective, that he come into training camp with lessons learned, being a more rounded player. He will probably go to the World Juniors and have a great experience, a wonderful experience for him, and be an impact player and an important player for Canada.”
Question: From the coaching side of it, how would you like to see him improve as a player between now and when training camp starts in September?
MURRAY: “The most important thing, for all young players, is to be able to play without the puck. It’s the reads, it’s the reaction to the game whenever you’re in your D-zone or the opposition has the puck. If you get those instincts in place, those reads down to a consistent level, the other part takes care of itself. You’re going to have the puck more and you’re going to be able to put points on the board. That’s something that Brayden Schenn should not even worry about, the offensive part of it, because that’s ingrained. He has it. He has great skill.”