A tale of two rebuilds?
That’s the perception that proceeded the Maple Leafs-Edmonton Oilers matchup at Rexall Place Tuesday, a battle that pitted the two worst teams in the 2009-10 standings.
The Oilers, of course, used the first overall pick in the 2010 entry draft to pick dynamic Windsor Spitfire forward Taylor Hall.
The Leafs? Their selection was traded away in the Phil Kessel deal to the Boston Bruins, who used the No. 2 spot to pluck forward Tyler Seguin of the Plymouth Whalers.
The Oilers, it seems, are creating a nucleus through the draft while the Leafs have eyed the free agency and trade routes to construct their roster.
General manager Brian Burke seems fine with that philosophy. But he was not thrilled when it was suggested to him that the Oilers were the more youthful team, one with fresh legs.
“Everyone is talking about us facing a young team in Edmonton, but we’re the youngest team in the league, or at least we were until a few days ago,” Burke said.
For the record, Colorado is actually the youngest, followed by Toronto, then Edmonton.
“Edmonton is (rebuilding) differently,” Burke said. “But this isn’t the aging Leafs against the young Oilers.
“As I’ve said, I like the character of our team. My blueprint as GM is putting key pieces in place and I think we’ve done that.
“We just have to work and play on a more consistent basis.”
In the past month, Burke has been criticized more than at any time during his two-year tenure at the helm of the Leafs.
It is something he says he does not back away from.
“This (GM post) is the hot seat,” Burke said of the Maple Leafs general managers’ position.
“If you can’t play well, you’ll hear about it more than anywhere else in the league. “
It’s a situation he says he accepts.
“If you can’t take the heat, don’t take the job,” he said.
World Junior memories
It has been only three years since Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn represented Canada at the world junior hockey championship.
In his mind, it seems like a lot longer than that.
“It does seem like a lifetime ago,” Schenn said Tuesday of his world junior experience in 2007-08. “It was such a great experience. It’s something that always stays with you.”
Schenn’s younger brother Brayden is at Team Canada’s tryout camp in Toronto. He is one of just four players who is returning from the Canadian squad that lost the gold-medal game to the U.S. in overtime in January.
Luke and Brayden talk regularly but the elder Schenn rarely gives advice to his kid brother.
“He’s old hat at this,” Luke said. “He knows the score.”
Luke said he will try to get to Buffalo to see one of Canada’s games.
“We have a pretty packed schedule around that time,” Luke Schenn said. “But I’m going to attempt to squeeze in some time to get down there.”
Forward Clarke MacArthur, a native of Lloydminster, Alta., had about 20 people on his ticket list Tuesday for the game against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. “But I think there’s about 100 other people coming on their own,” MacArthur laughed. No matter what the final count was, they had the chance to cheer in the second period when MacArthur set up Mikhail Grabovski for the go-ahead goal, putting Toronto up 2-1 ... The Oilers introduced their new cheerleading team in the first intermission. “As players, we don’t really notice them,” Oilers rookie Jordan Eberle said. Maybe not. But the fans and media did.