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Flyers' Brayden Schenn playing; Lecavalier making strides

Center Brayden Schenn, who was sent head-first into the boards after a vicious hit Tuesday, will play Thursday against visiting Columbus

UPDATE: Wilson, somehow, was not suspended for the hit on Schenn. The NHL suspensions, it says here, are based too much on whether a player is severely injured.


Good news on the Flyers' medical front: Center Brayden Schenn, who was sent head-first into the boards after a vicious hit Tuesday, will play Thursday against visiting Columbus, and center Vinny Lecavalier had his best practice since injuring his back and said there was a "possibility" he could return for the six-game road trip that starts Dec. 28 in Edmonton.

Schenn, 22, who was leveled into the boards by Washington's Tom Wilson on Tuesday, said he had no limitations and was ready to play. "If I was limited or thinking I can't do this or can't do that, then I shouldn't be playing," he said. "It would just put me in a bad situation and everyone else in a bad situation. I feel good. I feel ready to go."

Saying he had "nothing more" than stiffness in his upper back and neck, Schenn said he was "fortunate and lucky" not to be seriously injured.

Lecavalier, 33, said he felt "a lot stronger" on the ice than the previous day's skating session and that it was his "best day so far, for sure." He suffered a non-displaced fracture in his lower back during a win in Nashville on Nov. 30, and the spasms are decreasing each day, he said.

On Wednesday, general manager Paul Holmgren said Lecavalier could miss two or three more weeks, but that it might be sooner.

"Obviously, I'm hoping it's sooner than that," Lecavalier said.

Asked if he might be ready for the post-Christmas road trip, Lecavalier said, "Yeah, it's a possibility. But I don't want to say any (definitive date). I want to see how it reacts today during the day and tomorrow. It was very encouraging today."

Lecavalier will likely play with a back brace when he returns.

Mason gets call. Steve Mason will face Columbus for the first time since it traded him to the Flyers late last season. Mason is 12-9-4 with a 2.34 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

Curtis McElhinney (4-4-1, 2.26, .926) will start for Columbus.

Columbus winger RJ Umberger, a former Flyer, had dinner with Mason on Wednesday. They were roommates for five years with the Blue Jackets.

"I'm going to try and make his night miserable," Umberger cracked. "I'll be in the crease all night."

By the way, don't be surprised if Ray Emery plays in Columbus on Saturday.

Mount .500. The Flyers (15-15-4) will be trying to beat the Blue Jackets (14-16-4) and go over the .500 mark for the first time this season. "I think psychologically, you look at where you're at in the standings, and if you get above .500, you're on the right track," coach Craig Berube said. "It's important. We need the two points. It's going to be a tough game, we all know that. They're a hard-working team over there."

The Flyers, who have a 4-0-1 lifetime record against Columbus at the Wells Fargo Center, would move into third place (a playoff spot) in the Metro Division with a victory.

Laughton named. Center Scott Laughton, the Flyers' No. 1 selection (20th overall) in the 2012 draft, has been named captain of Canada's World Junior team. The tourney starts Dec. 26.

In 29 games with OHL Oshawa, Laughton has 24 goals and 50 points.

Quotable: "I know where the pressbox is." _ former Flyer Jody Shelley, a frequent healthy scratch during his playing days, on being a first-year Columbus Blue Jackets broadcaster.

Follow Sam Carchidi on Twitter @BroadStBull.