Schenn, Toskala get extra coaching

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Most of his teammates were showered and ready to leave the rink yesterday, but half an hour later rookie Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn was still on the Air Canada Centre ice.

As they have done on occasion throughout the season, Schenn was joined on the ice for a little one-on-one overtime work with assistant coach Rob Zettler.

In the past two games, Schenn has seen his lightest workload of the season, logging ice times of 17:19 and 15:18 respectively. Though the top draft pick has struggled at times in those games, Wilson says there's no serious concern.

The Leafs coaching staff hasn't been hesitant to juggle things mid-game if they feel a player is off, but that's only part of the reason for the reduced time.

"It just depends on how the player is playing," Wilson said yesterday. "The last couple of games, we've reduced Luke's ice time a little bit if we see him struggling.

"That's reacting during the game and the situations where we've been in and we need to push for a goal. We have Ian White (who is more offensively minded) that we can put on the back end and that will take some ice time away from Luke."

That said, Wilson isn't shy about going to Schenn in any situation where defence is required.

"If it's a close game or we're ahead, you're going to see him play a lot more," Wilson said. "That's just managing his ice time and putting him in situations that I think he's going to be successful at."

At the other end of yesterday's practice, Vesa Toskala hit the ice half an hour before his teammates along with backup Curtis Joseph and goalie coach Corey Hirsch.

Wilson said that Toskala, who let in a soft first goal in a 3-2 loss to the Bruins on Monday and was yanked after two periods Saturday night in Vancouver, will get the start again this Saturday against Chicago.

"He's the No. 1 goalie and I have a lot of faith that he can get the job done," Wilson said. "Vesa knows he has to play better. And we've got some veteran defenceman who have to do better too, especially early in games.

"We're not a good enough team where we can spot a team a couple of goals in the first period."


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