Schenn could stay with Leafs

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 3:44 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- Pavel Kubina and Nikolai Kulemin are in danger of missing next week’s season opener for the Maple Leafs with injuries, which may or may not help rookies such as Luke Schenn stay around through October.

Coach Ron Wilson provided an update today both banged up players could be out a week to 10 days, with the Oct. 9 opener in Detroit now a week away. As Schenn prepared to suit up for his fifth game here against the Blues, Wilson opined that not returning him to junior might not be the developmental blunder many have feared.

“(The injuries) could delay some decisions,” Wilson said after the Leafs wrapped up their morning skate at the Scott Trade Center. “I’m playing some guys more than I like, but that’s not always a bad thing.”

Wilson was trying to get a handle on all 10 defencemen at camp and was already missing Jeff Finger with a sore foot, when Kubina suffered a hand injury a couple of days ago.

Kulemin’s knee injury saw collegiate grad winger Kyle Rogers back in for a second game, tentatively pencilled in to play right wing with centre Mikhail Grabovski and Boyd Devereaux.

Schenn is still green in many areas, but the overall positives have out-weighed the negatives.

“If he’s ready, he’s ready,” Wilson said. “When I watch him, I’m looking at how he moves on pucks, how he defends the forecheck and does he get the puck out cleanly.

“If he played in junior (the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets are anxious to have him return) he might not get better. He might be beyond junior. You send some kids back and could find out later that he picked up bad habits or didn’t try hard.

“Don’t read into this that he’s on the team. We just have to look at things like that (and) you have to look at the depth on our team, too.”

Schenn heard from the coach and general manager Cliff Fletcher that he had to crack the top four to stay with the Leafs, but with Finger out and now Kubina, it’s down to Tomas Kaberle, Jonas Frogren, Mike Van Ryn and Carlo Colaiacovo.

Also in camp are Anton Stralman, Ian White, Staffan Kronwall and minor leaguer Richard Petiot, who made his exhibition debut last night. Curtis Joseph was to get the start in goal in his original NHL home, backed by Justin Pogge.


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