RALEIGH, N.C. -- Almost every Maple Leaf that Ron Wilson has made a healthy scratch in his 101 games as coach came back better for it the next night.
That message might now have to be absorbed by Luke Schenn as soon as tonight when the lineup card is made out. Wilson seemed to set the table on Tuesday in Ottawa by sitting the 20-year-old down almost all of the third period of an eventual 3-2 loss.
That's about the third time in the past couple of weeks that Wilson has chained him to the bench for a bit to show he's unhappy with Schenn's work and his uncharacteristic wooden movements with the puck. But Wilson is no doubt concerned about the effect the scratch would have on last year's all-rookie team member and kept him in the lineup so far.
After 19 games, Schenn has two assists, is a minus-six and his ice time is 15:05 a night. Last year, when he led all rookie defencemen in blocked shots, he was over 20 minutes a game 48 times.
But Schenn is not about to volunteer to take a seat and let Garnet Exelby back in the lineup tonight.
HAS TO BE BETTER
"I'm not satisfying expectations," Schenn agreed. "But I'm just worrying about what I can control. There's a long season left. I have to be better than I've been, but as long as I work hard, I'll be okay."
Wilson did not talk to the press yesterday to speak of his plans for Schenn this evening.