Fourteen games into the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed a league-worst 51 goals against. Half the league's 30 teams have allowed 35 goals or less. And we still can't kill a penalty. Is this really the environment we want Luke Schenn developing in?
November 07, 2008
Don't get me wrong, for a 19-year-old kid I think Schenn has played great. He's got all the makings of a great shutdown defenceman in the NHL. I love the fact that he loves to play the body and that he's quicker than he looks on his skates.
At the same time, he hasn't blown my mind. He hasn't left me dumbfounded. I know, a part of that is the position and style of game he plays. But, well, still. I'm left thinking that another year of junior hockey - four full years like, say, Dion Phaneuf - cannot hurt him.
Once again, before you get out the pitchforks, I dig the Schenn. But we've got to send him back to junior hockey. For the good of humanity. He doesn't need to be here right now. He can play 25 minutes a game down in Kelowna, run shit, and dominate at the World Juniors. Let Ron Wilson deal with the rest of our chumps on defence because God knows they could use some work, especially on special teams. Schenn can join us next season. Wilson and the rest of the coaching staff ain't going anywhere. They can impart their wisdom on Luke next season.
I heart Schenn, but another reason he doesn't need to be here right now is because we've got two young defenceman who can play, and who need the playing time, sitting in the press box every night. One of them happens to be Carlo Colaiacovo, and he needs to be emancipated.
I refuse to give up on Carlo Colaiacovo. Not yet. He's a 2001 draft pick with a ton of potential, and I'm just not ready to let go. We showed Antropov all the patience in the world, and he's finally come through. We need to do the same with Carlo. A solid, top-three defenceman exists somewhere inside him.
Carlo's finally healthy and, much to the pain of my soul, he's a healthy scratch. Injuries have just fucked with him and, now that he's finally healthy, it pains me to see him sitting on the sidelines along with another of my man crushes, Anton Stralman.
I mean, I love Jonas Frogren and his aggressive, hitting-oriented style, and Mike Van Ryn has done nothing but impress since he donned the blue and white, but who's got more of a future with the Leafs going forward? The youngsters, Colaiacovo and Stralman, n'est pas? Don't they? I would say so. And in a rebuilding and experience-building season, why aren't they playing every night? Why can't Schenn - sent down to work on his game and continue to develop - Colaiacovo, and Stralman be the anchors of our defence core two or three years down the road, with Kaberle and Van Ryn, or Kubina, providing veteran presence?
Free Carlo, Cliff Fletcher. His destiny awaits.