Since the first installment on Thursday (they will be out on Mondays from now on) I have been racking my brain trying to figure out who the next Underdog of the Week should be. I had a bunch of players in mind and was really struggling trying to figure out which one to pick. Then on Saturday afternoon something happened. Luke Schenn of the Philadelphia Flyers took a puck to the face trying to block a shot, but that isn’t what makes him Underdog of the Week. What makes him Underdog of the week is that after taking the puck to the face he got right up, blood dripping down his face and skated to the dressing room, no overt theatrics. He then returned later in the game after getting two layers of stitches, showing courage and strength that every hockey fan can appreciate.
Now, Schenn might not be the best defenseman in the league but what he lacks he makes up for with heart. He will do everything he can for his team, whether it is dropping the gloves for a teammate or blocking a shot. The toughness he showed Saturday afternoon caused him to gain some much deserved respect that he did not see with his previous team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He has only scored 3 goals this season (one was on Thursday sealing the win over his old team) but Schenn isn’t known for his goal scoring ability, he is known for his toughness. Schenn is 4th in the league and 1st among defensemen in hits with 144. He has 76 blocked shots this season which puts him at 23rd in the league and 2nd among the Flyers.
As a kid Schenn always gravitated toward the role of shut-down defenseman. This worked well for one on one’s with brother Brayden Schenn who wanted to be a forward and work on his moves. Who would of thought in those days that both brothers from Saskatoon Saskatchewan would end up playing in the NHL for the Philadelphia Flyers. They have both gone on record saying that they enjoy getting to spend more time together now, the two even live in the same building.
Luke has played in the NHL since he was drafted in 2008 to the Toronto Maple Leafs. A lot of Leafs fans believe he was rushed and could have developed more but I think they forget that he is still young. Luke is only 23 and has been improving in every game he plays. Since joining the Flyers he has been working with injured veteran defenseman Chris Pronger, which seems to have really helped him improve. I think Luke is a player to watch and doesn’t receive nearly as much positive attention as he deserves. So, here’s some positive media attention, Luke. Hope you enjoyed your time in the spotlight.