Win-win situation for Leafs

STEVE BUFFERY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

All you geezers out there might recall Victor Kiam.

Remember that ad? He liked his Remington shaver so much, he bought the company.

Maple Leafs rookie Luke Schenn had his own Victor Kiam moment this season: Hitting it off with his new teammate, Brad May, so much, Schenn invited him to move in.

Actually, it's not quite that simple.

When the Leafs hired Brian Burke as the club's president and general manager in November, Burke determined that it would be a good idea to bring in somebody who could mentor the young players on the rebuilding team -- particularly the 19-year-old Schenn, the club's first pick in the 2008 entry draft.

"That was a good chunk of the deal," said Burke, of the Jan. 7 trade that brought May to Toronto. "What Brad brings to a team, aside from his enthusiasm and his physical play, is the entire off-ice package. He is the consummate professional. The year we won the Cup in Anaheim (2007), he was a big part of organizing the young guys off the ice ... go here for lunch, do this to prepare for the game. He's the ultimate professional."

Burke did, however, shoot down suggestions that he brought in May specifically to keep Schenn on the straight and narrow during the rookie's first season in the NHL.

"We didn't think Luke needed a babysitter," Burke growled. "We have a number of young players I thought would benefit from Brad's (tutelage). But I did not anticipate that he would end up that tight with Luke Schenn."

They are tight, which is a bit odd, because it's a bit of an Odd Couple scenario.

May, a 16-year veteran of NHL wars, is a big city, Toronto guy, married with two kids, 13-year-old Tyler and nine-year-old Samantha. Schenn is closer in age to Tyler -- which May jokingly pointed out yesterday -- and probably has more in common with Tyler.

May admitted that he did go out of his way after arriving in Toronto to extend a guiding hand to Schenn, partly because they're both managed by Mississauga-based Newport Sports.

Somehow, he and Schenn connected, to the point that Schenn invited May, who was living in a hotel room after being traded to Toronto, to move into his downtown condo.

"He's just the nicest, most down-to-earth guy, and he has been a great help in the short time he has been here," Schenn said.

"You can talk about anything with him. Even though he's an older guy, he's just a real nice guy. What he doesn't say is: 'I'm this old, and you're this old. So do what I say.' "

May said Schenn has been a breath of fresh air for him as well.

"When I started, I was 19 years old, and guys who were 32 years old we're being pushed out of the game. These young guys like Luke keep me young. I feel like I'm 25. I really do."

He also likes not living in the hotel anymore.

May's family stayed behind in the Los Angeles area after he was traded to the Leafs, and that has been tough for the veteran.

"My kids are still in school, my son's in hockey, going to the playoffs out in California," he said. "It was a tough decision for us."

May pointed out that, when he does begin to feel like an old codger, all he has to do is look across the dressing room, toward 41-year-old Curtis Joseph, and, suddenly, he doesn't feel so old anymore.

"I'm like Luke Schenn when I'm with Curtis," May said with a laugh.

Schenn and May don't believe their living arrangement is permanent. But, as of right now, it's working out quite well. Which doesn't surprise Burke.

"I would be surprised if, before the season is over, Brad May doesn't have that same impact on another young player," Burke said.


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