Schenn once idolized Phaneuf

MIKE ZEISBERGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:03 AM ET

NEWARK -- It seems Dion Phaneuf is much more than just a potential hard-hitting mentor for Maple Leafs 2008 first-round draft pick Luke Schenn.

He is also a one-time hockey idol.

"He's about four years older than me," Schenn said. "I remember by dad driving me to Saskatoon Blades games so I could watch him play when his Red Deer Rebels were in town.

"There was another time when my brother (L.A. Kings prospect Braydon) and I were timekeepers at a summer league tournament. Dion just happened to be there coaching his brother's team."

Leafs officials hope that Phaneuf, 24, can show Schenn, 20, how to regain his physical style of play.

Schenn had a much more in-your-face style early in his rookie season of 2008-09, but seemed to shy away from that after becoming a popular target of the referees to be sent to the penalty box.

Alfie is wary

The Ottawa Senators may be the NHL's hottest team with 11 wins in a row, but they are not about to take the rebuilt Maple Leafs lightly when the two sides meet Saturday at the ACC.

"They're a team now that basically is telling everybody: 'We're starting over here, trying to build something fresh,'" Daniel Alfredsson said. "They have nothing to lose now, and I think that's the way they're going to play the rest of the year. They're going to be a team that's hard to play against."

Round 3?

Sens defenceman Matt Carkner won't let a sore right hand keep him from a rubber- match fight with Colton Orr.

Each heavyweight has scored a decisive victory over the other during the past two Leafs-Sens games.

"We'll see what happens," he said. "I'm always ready."

MIKE.ZEISBERGER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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