Luke Schenn

Luke Schenn isn’t too worried about getting a deal done with Toronto

This summer has been a rough one for restricted free agent defensemen. We’ve seen the trials and tribulations of Shea Weber’s dealings with the Nashville Predators through arbitration and the Kings are still trying to work things out with Drew Doughty to come to a long term contract there. One guy who’s living life simply while dealing with the same process is Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn.

Schenn too is a restricted free agent and while there’s no threat of a team signing him to an offer sheet and stealing him away from Toronto, he’s not too worried about coming to terms with Toronto either. The Leafs have oodles of cap space to burn and Schenn is a guy that GM Brian Burke loves and wants to see grow into the next blue line force as a Maple Leaf.

James Mirtle of The Globe And Mail in Toronto spoke to Schenn and found that he’s not stressing out about things at all.

“There’s still lots of time until camp,” Schenn said on Thursday, taking a break from skating with some of the top 14- and 15-year-olds in the country as part of a new National Hockey League Players’ Association mentorship camp.

“There’s still a lot of players out there that haven’t signed yet. Obviously it’s going to get done a little bit later, but it’s all going to work out.”

Schenn added that he didn’t yet know whether he will be looking at a long-term deal, leaving the negotiations to his agent, Don Meehan.

“Honestly, I love playing in Toronto,” Schenn said. “I want to be part of the future going forward, be part of the reason things turn around here to get us into the postseason.”

Getting to the  postseason is something the Leafs haven’t done since 2003-2004 and should Schenn be part of a team that does help them get back there and perhaps make a deep run at things, he’ll be even more of a fan favorite than he already is. At 21 years-old, Schenn is still developing as a defenseman and he’s already been a productive player for the Leafs. Last season, Schenn finished the year with five goals and 17 assists finishing with a career-high 22 points. Schenn also averaged the most time on ice of his career last season playing more than 22 minutes per game each night.

With his responsibilities increasing and his play improving as time goes on, he’s a key guy for Toronto to have on the blue line. While the Leafs’ depth there is strong, Schenn is counted on to be a big time contributor along with team captain Dion Phaneuf and up and comer Carl Gunnarsson. With the likes of Cody Franson and John-Michael Liles joining the team this season, the Leafs are loading up on defense. Keeping Schenn there for the foreseeable future is something that would work well for both sides.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) deflects a puck over the net during the first period of Game 3 against the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

PHT will make note if there are any swerves.