Will Leafs' Schenn-schation be able to stand the heat?

GARY LOEWEN

, Last Updated: 2:33 AM ET

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about," Oscar Wilde once said, obviously speaking of the Maple Leafs.

A team noted for being all talk and no action, the Leafs are plodding through training camp, destined for another ninth-place finish in the NHL Eastern Conference.

The media and Leafs Gnashin' have turned the focus away from talk of a team destined for mediocrity to talk of Luke Schenn, the rookie defenceman.

You can't get away from this Schenn-wagging, whether you go to your banker, butcher, dentist or toupee-fitter.

Nobody cares about Nikolai Kulemin possibly being the founder of the LuLu Kulemin line of fitness clothing. They're interested only in the new Schenn-schation.

The issue is whether the 18-year-old, drafted fifth overall, stays with the NHL team or is returned to junior.

He seems to have the skill, but that is only part of the equation.

Does he have the emotional maturity? Would he struggle the way Jim Benning, chosen sixth overall in 1981, did. Or the way Keith Primeau, chosen third overall in 1990 by the Red Wings, did?

Those are questions only coach Ron Wilson and the team psychologist can answer.

If the team struggles, does the losing atmosphere take root, as it has with so many past Leafs?

Will the media circus and fan adulation turn him into a celebrity before his time? That actually has happened, oh, once or twice in this town.

Wherever he goes, Schenn will be talked about. We know he can handle the puck but can he handle that?

BLUE (AND WHITE) MOON

We fielded a call from a fellow at the Ganaraska Hotel in Port Hope, where he and some other gentlemen had devised a poll question.

What will happen first, he asked, the Chinese space program puts a man on the moon or the Maple Leafs win a Stanley Cup?

Silly Ganaraskan, that's too easy. Forget the moon -- the Chinese space program will land a man on Mars before the Leafs win a Cup

MANY HAPPY RETURNS

Argos kick returner Dominique Dorsey had a September to remember, setting a team record for most kickoff return yards, 225, in a single game while establishing the record for most kickoff return yards in a season.

It's a swell achievement, but remember the team he plays for ... the Argos spend half their time returning kicks.


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