Schenn escapes the doghouse

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Tales of Luke Schenn's demise have, it seems, been greatly exaggerated.

For one night, anyway.

With the Maple Leafs finding themselves in the unenviable position of being the only National Hockey League team to have not posted a win to date, there has been plenty of speculation that Schenn might be banished to the press box for tonight's contest against the Vancouver Canucks at GM Place.

Such a suggestion was merited by the fact that Schenn has spent the past few days as the odd man out during practice, with the top-six defence pairings featuring Mike Komisarek-Tomas Kaberle, Francois Beauchemin-Ian White and Jeff Finger-Garnet Exelby.

Having said that, coach Ron Wilson set the record straight after yesterday's workout at the University of British Columbia: Schenn will be in the lineup, no matter what observers may have interpreted during the team's workouts this week.

"He has had a good week of practise ... he's playing (against the Canucks)," Wilson said.

Schenn, who played his junior hockey in B.C. with the Kelowna Rockets, is looking forward to stepping on to the ice at GM Place in front of friends and family.

"It's awesome to come back out here," Schenn said. "It's just down the road from Kelowna. I used to play down here all the time against the (Western Hockey League's) Giants."

Schenn feels there are some positives about the Leafs having left Toronto for a five-game trip which begins tonight.

"The guys love playing in Toronto but, considering what's gone on recently, I don't think it will hurt us to get out of there a bit," he said.

Asked for what seems like the one hundredth time this week if he was going through a sophomore slump, Schenn insisted he was not.

"That's just a mental thing," he said. "You just have to work hard and play through it."


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