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Schenn Solid in Win

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Check out the video: Luke Schenn

Luke Schenn.

That was Luke Schenn, ladies and gentlemen.

Luke Schenn, Luke Schenn, Luke Schenn.

There. Now we are all fully aware of the real import of the Leafs rookie camp.

The Leafs frosh ended their mini-tournament Monday against freshmen from the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers in Kitchener with a 4-0 win over the Panthers. With Nikolai Kulemin not here, it all seems like an awful lot of time and trouble for one guy.

Laugh if you must, but Luke Schenn is the only Toronto player wearing a number smaller than 45. His number is 2. Get the picture.

For those keeping score, the little Leafs finished at 1-2. Dale Mitchell, Stefano Giliati Juraj Mikus and Dale Mitchell scored for the blue in the win.

The first thing you notice about Luke Schenn, since you already know the Maple Leafs traded up to get him fifth in the draft last year, is that six-foot-two, 216 pounds doesn’t seem to quite it. Bubba is big. His left shoulder pad was in 416. The right was in 519.

He didn’t do a whole lot wrong Monday night. Schenn saw plenty of time on both specialty teams as well as even strength. He got into a tussle with a comparably sized Panther named David Brine with neither guy hurting anyone.

He cleared the puck efficiently, used his size judiciously. You couldn’t hang a thing on him.

“In the first game, there was a little bit of nervousness but in game two I felt better and today I felt better as well,” Schenn said. “As long as there’s progression and I keep getting better, I’m just happy to keep working hard.”

All of which brings us where?

The situation is clear cut. Schenn goes back to junior and Kelowna unless he dazzles. But how do you dazzle when you are a player whose game is about making sure nothing bad happens when you are on the ice.

While his offensive abilities may someday flower - he made a heady break to the net on a Leafs power play in the third – Schenn’s game is rudimentary. Hit guy with puck, move puck other direction.

So, theoretically, it becomes easier for Schenn to play his game. But how do you do that while standing out?

“I think it’s really simple” said Dallas Eakins the Leafs director of player development and, for three nights, the rookies’ coach. “We’ve got a good amount of NHL defencemen in our camp already. We all know Luke Schenn’s age. I really believe he’s going to have to beat out three guys probably to make the team.”

“He was okay the first night and he got better and better each night. That’s a real positive. Now we’ll see when the pace quickens, if he keeps progressing then he’s going in the right direction. If he’s stagnant, then he’s not ready.”

So Schenn, that was Luke Schenn, continues his high-wire act. Overachieve by not over-reaching.

“I’ve been told (that).” he said. “ I know I do my best when I stick to my strengths and that’s just playing solid defence and moving the puck as quickly as I can.”
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