November 5, 2011
Schenn scratched against Bruins
By DAVE HILSON, QMI AGENCY
The Maple Leafs are hoping a little time in the press box will help Luke Schenn find his game.
They are also hoping a second consecutive start for Ben Scrivens will help them confirm what they think they already know about their 25-year-old goaltender.
For the first time this season, the 22-year-old Schenn, who was arguably the Leafs’ steadiest defenceman last year, will get a birds-eye view of a game when Toronto (9-3-1) hosts the reigning Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins (4-7-0) at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Schenn has not played well this season and has seen his ice-time dwindle down to a meagre 9:13 against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night after having started the season against the Montreal Canadiens with just over 22 minutes of ice time.
While Schenn, who signed a five-year $18-million deal in the off-seasons, claims he is not suffering from any confidence issues, the Leafs are hoping a night in the press box will get the same results as when they sat highly paid blue liner Mike Komisarek for one game.
“We’re giving Luke a break from the game much like we did with Mike Komisarek,” coach Ron Wilson said after the Leafs morning skate on Saturday. “Since Mike’s taken the game off, which happened, coincidentally, to be against the Bruins, he’s plus nine in the seven games and has played very well. So we’re hoping that Luke can just kind of reset himself. At the same time this gives Cody (Franson) an opportunity to jump in the lineup and play some.”
Schenn was not available for comment.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-5 Franson, who was picked up from the Nashville Predators in the off-season, will be appearing in just his fourth game of the year and will be paired with strong-skating rookie Jake Gardiner.
Coincidentally, the last time Franson played was during a 6-2 loss to the Bruins on Oct. 20, when he was a team-worst minus-3.
“That was the worst night I had in a while, so I definitely want to come back and have a good night tonight,” Franson said. “It’s nice to get back in the mix. I definitely want to make sure I perform well and give myself a chance to stay in the lineup. If it ends up being that I don’t stay in the lineup, I want to leave with a good impression.”
The 25-year-old Scrivens, meanwhile, will be making his second NHL start when he dons the pads against the Bruins. The Cornell University product was called up from the Marlies to backup Jonas Gustavsson when the Leafs’ No. 1 goaltender, James Reimer, went down with what is now being referred to as an “upper-body injury.” While Gustavsson has gone 4-2 since Reimer had to leave the game against the Canadiens on Oct. 22, he has usually given up at least one soft goal in each game. Scrivens, however, put in the best performance of any Leafs goalie this season when he stopped 38 of 39 shots against the Blue Jackets for his first career NHL victory and deserves another opportunity to start.
“I’d like to see how he responds with two games in a row,” Wilson said. “I’m confident he will get the job done.”
Scrivens had posted a 4-1 record with one shutout and a .908 save percentage with the Marlies this season before being called up.
“I’m happy they have enough confidence to go back with me,” he said. “The pressure is on me to prepare fully and that I’m ready to go tonight. I’m going to go back (home) have a little nap and then get ready for the game once I get to the rink.”
Wilson hinted that there could be other changes to the lineup but would not go into details.