Randy Carlyle wants Luke Schenn to be meaner

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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.

Until now.

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.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.