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Tough Lesson For Young Schenn

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s a delicate situation whenever a key player is benched.

Luke Schenn has been heralded as a cornerstone for the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Brian Burke administration who made it clear he was one of the few players on his club who was untouchable when he took over.

But now, Schenn’s play has regressed and head coach Ron Wilson has made the difficult but necessary move of benching the young defenceman. Wilson made it clear at his media address on Monday that the benching is in part due to Schenn’s disappointing play but also the increased productivity of Schenn’s primary competitors for ice time, Jeff Finger and Garnet Exelby.

Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek have also stepped up their games after rocky initiations and with the club inching towards a playoff spot, clearly this is no time for sentiment or coddling a young player’s psyche. Schenn has said all the right things although he disagrees with his coach’s assertion that his approach needs to change.

And as for whether the move will pay dividends, Wilson pointed out that question won’t be answered until Schenn actually does return to the lineup and if the club keeps winning, that decision could be put on hiatus.


A fantastic sign to see Hedo Turkoglu break out with his highest scoring game of the season with 23 points against the Houston Rockets on Sunday afternoon. With Jose Calderon out of the lineup for the next two games in Florida, Turk has to take on a stronger load offensively.

Also, the club was clearly buoyed by the near triple double from Jarrett Jack whose most important move may have been getting in the grill of Trevor Ariza, after he threw that awkward punch/forearm and was promptly ejected. It’s about time the Raptors showed some moxie and stood up for their teammates. The Raps are now 8-0 when holding opponents to under 100 points and 6-0 when they hold the team to under 40 percent. Houston connected on just 38 percent of their shots and missed a handful of open looks but still give T.O. credit for improved work defending the perimeter after what the Rockets did to the Raptors in the preseason. If the Raptors can split the trip to Florida, I think they’d take that and then return home to feast on the borderline inept New Jersey Nets on Friday night at the ACC.


- Finished Andre Agassi’s haunting autobiography and highly recommend it. Can’t remember a more candid sports book and I also felt that way after devouring Joe Torre and Tom Verducci’s The Yankee Years earlier this year. It’s so unabashedly honest: his father’s domineering and abusive manner, his decision to wear a hairpiece, his pained marriage to Brooke Shields and his oft-repeated refrain about how much he quietly hates the sport he’s become famous for. The redemptive angle comes from his marriage to Stefanie Graf and altruistic decision to dedicate millions to education in the form of his own school in his hometown of Las Vegas.

- Pee Wee Herman is returning to the stage in Los Angeles for a month of shows bringing back his character costing in the millions to produce. Here’s hoping there’s no re-enactments of Pee Wee dropping into an adult theatre in Sarasota, Florida! Although I did enjoy seeing Paul Reubens work in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns.

- Saw Clint Eastwood’s new movie Invictus on Saturday. It’s an expansive, safe and predictable film which doesn’t delve into Nelson Mandela’s incarceration which I think would have much greater appeal and dramatic tension but the period after he’s assumed the presidency and his desire to see South Africa win the Rugby World Cup, captained by Matt Damon, to help ease tense race relations in his country. Owen Gleiberman wrote in Entertainment Weekly, “Damon looks positively Aryan,” which is accurate. Morgan Freeman nails the clipped accent and mannerisms of Mandela but for me, lacked the soul of the man himself. However, Clint may be the director of the decade when you add up Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima and this decent offering. For those wondering about the title of the film, it’s the name of the poem which kept Mandela’s spirits alive in prison.

- Desean Jackson is unreal. Eight touchdowns of 50 or more yards tying an NFL record with Devin Hester and Crazy Legs Hirsch. Fly Eagles Fly.

- Farewell to the fabled Carlton movie theatre, for years the haven for art house films and independent treasures. In this era of gaudy multiplexes, my former place of employment during my second year of university has now closed its doors. Goodbye to a special place for my film education and college years.
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