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Schenn Continues To Shine In Preseason

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Recap | Stats | Box Pre | Game In 6 | Wilson | Schenn | Mayers | Steen | Toskala

All of us have felt it, the tap on the shoulder.

It could be the jolt that comes with a notice for jury duty or being asked in the middle of the night to check out the sound downstairs. It comes when you’re a kid at school and the lady at the other end of the public address systems summons you to the office.

Monday, it came to Luke Schenn who you might remember is all of 18 years of age and the Leafs first-round draft choice.

It came at the beginning of the shootout in the form of a tap on the shoulder.

“You’re fourth,” said Leafs head coach Ron Wilson

The Leafs and Blues were tied 3-3 last night and four-on- four had settled nothing.

“I thought, hopefully it won’t get down to fourth,” Schenn said.

Luke Schenn’s mistake, if you can call it that, was in showing surprising aptitude in the shootout section of a recent practice. Wilson saw him score on a sweet backhand and another chart-topper, a rising shot on the forehand.

Up to the overtime, Schenn’s night had been terrific. He was plus-3, and since the Leafs had scored just the three times, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out he had been on for three even strength goals and on the bench when the Blues scored.

Schenn is now plus-5 this pre-season.

All that wasn’t quite enough for Wilson who favoured using right-handed shooters against St. Louis goalie Manny Legace.

“To be honest, I’d never shot one (a shot in the shootout) before,” Schenn said. “I was pretty surprised to get called upon.”

When Luke Schenn says he has never participated in a shootout, he’s not just talking about the pros. He had never shot one in junior or the world juniors either. Maybe in his driveway.

After nearly overskating the puck at centre – Wilson’s heart skipped a beat – Schenn glided toward Legace as if he was skating downhill, veered to his backhand and launched a perfect shot past the startled netminder. The Leafs won 4-3, Schenn’s goal stood as the shootout winner.

And so, Schenn’s perfect Fall continues.

Before the game, Wilson said he was anxious to see how Schenn handled Paul Kariya’s speed and Keith Tkachuk’s bearish presence around to the net.

“He made some great long outlet passes,” Wilson said. “He had the advantage of playing with a veteran like (Tomas) Kaberle and he hasn’t looked out of place yet. Certainly, physically he’s strong enough, he manhandled Keith Tkachuk once. I haven’t seen him get beat one on one.”

The Leafs have another week of pre-season play and Wilson says how Schenn fares in a home in home against Detroit, October 3 and 4, might tell the tale.

The blueline is jammed. Four veterans are assured jobs, Pavel Kubina, Tomas Kaberle, Jeff Finger and Jonas Frogren are locks. That leaves Carlo Colaiacovo, Staffan Kronwall, Mike Van Ryn, Ian White and Schenn contesting two or possibly three jobs.

Clearly, gunner Luke Schenn, as modest and earnest a kid as you will find in any precinct, is feeling his oats.

 “Every day I feel more comfortable,” he said. “It’s good so far.”

Yes, yes it is.
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