By: David Alter
VANCOUVER — Luke Schenn will return to the lineup follwoing a one-game absence while James Reimer will be back between the pipes as the Maple Leafs visit the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday.
Schenn was a healthy scratch for Tuesday’s 4-3 overtime win in Edmonton. It was the second instance this season where Schenn was given a night off to check out the view up in the press box.
“It’s never fun sitting out,” says Schenn. “Sometimes I guess it’s a different approach to get a player going, when I get back in I’ve got to make the most of it.”
Head Coach Ron Wilson says while Schenn’s play has fallen off a bit, the move had more to do with giving Mike Komisarek consecutive looks, in addition to the amount of depth the team has on the back end.
“The hard part for us is with seven or eight defenseman in the organisation who are NHL capable is keeping everyone involved” says Wilson. “Luke had been off for a couple of games and I wanted to make sure that Mike Komisarek who had sat four, five games in-a-row, got an opportunity not to just play in one game but play in a couple of games. So Luke had to sit one out but he’ll be playing tomorrow.”
Based on the lines the Leafs used at practice, Schenn will be paired with Jake Gardiner while Mike Komisarek appears to be the odd man out.
Komisarek sat out six consecutive games as a healthy scratch before returning for games in Calgary and Edmonton.
James Reimer will be back between the pipes following his 29 save performance on Thursday. Reimer says he felt good in that game despite criticism from his coach that he appeared shaky at first.
“I felt good that game, it was huge for us to get the win, and it was good to get some confidence,” says Reimer. “Obviously there were some goals I’d like to have back but not much we can do about that now. Time to build from that and try to get a win here.
Carl Gunnarsson took part in practice for the first time since sustaining a sprained ankle before this current road trip. Gunnarsson skated with the team for about 25 minutes but didn’t take part in the full session. He hopes to return on Tuesday, which would be the earliest he’d be eligible to be activated under IR rules.
“That’s what I’m hoping for,” says Gunnarson. But I’ve got to practice 100% first before anything else so we have to see how it goes for the next couple of days”
Wilson is hoping for a return no later than Thursday.
With reports circulating about Mikhail Grabovski’s immediate future in Toronto, the Leafs centre answered questions pertaining to trade offers that have been going around.
“For me, I play right now here and my team is the Toronto Maple Leafs and I give my best here” says Grabovski. “I want to play for the Maple Leafs as much as I can. I don’t read the papers or listen to radio, I just play hockey.”
Grabovski is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Contract talks are currently ongoing with Leafs management. Term appears to be the main issue more than anything else.
Grabovski’s is reported to be looking for a deal worth as long as seven years. Given GM Brian Burke’s philosophy on contracts, five years would be the absolute max. Still, Grabovski isn’t sweating it.
“For me there is no pressure I don’t care where I play. If I’m with the Maple Leafs right now I play for the Leafs.
Nik Kulemin and Tim Connolly have reverted back to their old lines. Kulemin was back with Grabovski and Clarke MacArthur while Tim Connolly returned to centre Matthew Lombardi and Colby Armstromg.
Lines at Practice
Extras: Crabb, Rosehill