Of all the things Luke Schenn’s been told to work on during his time in Toronto — hockey IQ, defensive awareness, limiting turnovers — being mean has never appeared on the list.
Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle thinks Schenn could use more nastiness in his game and is challenging the 22-year-old rearguard to get meaner.
“My discussions with Luke were based upon the first thing that comes to mind is his physical presence on the ice,” Carlyle told the National Post. “A defenseman that’s going to be physical first and take the body, be hard to play against, be more of an agitating individual on the ice at times and have more of a snarly attitude.”
This seems like an awfully odd suggestion, given Schenn leads the Leafs in hits (234) and is ninth overall in the NHL. He’s also one of Toronto’s more willing pugilists having fought six times, second only to Mike Brown (10).
Maybe this is part of a larger-scale emphasis to get back to the pugnacious, truculent ideals Brian Burke envisioned when he began building the team in 2008. It’s also interesting to note that, when discussing the firing of former Leafs coach Ron Wilson, Burke made mention of the fact that he likes hockey “a little rougher than Ron does.”
That could suggest Toronto’s physicality might’ve faded a bit during the Wilson regime…and that it’s going to get ratcheted up during the Carlyle regime.