Skip to content

Leafs coach wants better defense from Jake Gardiner

Mar 31, 2013, 11:17 AM EDT

Jake Gardiner Getty Images

Jake Gardiner is a player the Maple Leafs like a lot, but he’s struggled to stay in their lineup this season. Why? Leafs coach Randy Carlyle believes he’s not living up to the defensive part of being a defenseman.

James Mirtle of The Globe And Mail hears it from the Leafs coach about how he’s trying to get the best from Gardiner while not discouraging him.

“He’s got to be better defensively,” Carlyle said after practice. “It’s as simple as that. We’ve asked him and he’s very well aware of the expectations. The games mean too much. Right now, we’re not in a development stage. We have to win hockey games.”

Gardiner is more of an offensive defenseman than anything. His ability to handle the puck and create scoring chances is at an NHL level for sure, but the combination of the Leafs’ success and his struggles in keeping opponents at bay have kept him in the press box.

Mirtle goes on to say Gardiner isn’t going back to the AHL this season, so he’s got that going for him. Learning on the fly in a playoff race, however, has to be tough.

Latest Posts
  1. WATCH LIVE: Montreal Canadiens vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 1)

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

    Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning Getty Images

    Unproven goalie vs. a gold-medal goalie in Game 1.

  2. WATCH LIVE: Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Game 1)

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Pittsburgh Penguins v Columbus Blue Jackets Getty Images

    A battle between a scrappy underdog and a perplexing favorite.

  3. Stars’ Dillon (foot) out for Game 1

    Apr 16, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT

    Dallas Stars v Pittsburgh Penguins Getty Images

    A little less grit against the Anaheim Ducks.

  4. Ducks feel ‘very comfortable’ with rookie Andersen in net, says Boudreau

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:14 PM EDT

    Anze Kopitar, Frederik Andersen AP

    “He gives us the best chance to win, so he’ll be the one starting.”

  5. Staal, Ward say they want to stay in Carolina

    Apr 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    WardStaal Getty Images

    But both acknowledge they’ve heard the rumblings.

  6. Sabre rattling: Buffalo overhauls Nolan’s coaching staff

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

    tednolan2ap AP

    Sacco, Forton, Numminen and Corsi are out.

  7. Pressing question: Could this be the year of the upset?

    Apr 16, 2014, 2:05 PM EDT

    Gustav Nyquist, Tuukka Rask AP

    Top seeds don’t have it easy in the first round.

  8. Belov bolts Edmonton, signs in KHL

    Apr 16, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

    Anton Belov Getty Images

    Spent one season with the Oilers, now off to SKA St. Petersburg.

  9. After 12-game absence, Prust back for Habs

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT

    Brandon Prust Getty Images

    He’ll dress for the series opener against Tampa Bay tonight.

  10. Emery to start Game 1 versus Rangers

    Apr 16, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT

    Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ray Emery deflects the puck over his head during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek) AP

    Steve Mason is “out.”

  11. Get your game notes: Jackets at Penguins

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Penguins Blue Jackets Hockey AP

    Pittsburgh won all five meetings between the teams during the regular season.

  12. Bulletin-board material: Why your team won’t win the Stanley Cup

    Apr 16, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Sidney Crosby, Zdeno Chara AP

    Prove us wrong, all 16 teams. Prove…us…wrong.

  13. Lightning’s Filppula, Palat expected to return for Game 1

    Apr 16, 2014, 9:51 AM EDT

    Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula

    Tampa Bay’s top-six would have been in trouble without them.

  14. Fleury’s true comeback bid starts tonight

    Apr 16, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT

    Marc-Andre Fleury Marc-Andre Fleury

    His solid regular season will be overshadowed by whatever he does in the playoffs.

Featured video

Are Penguins vulnerable vs. Columbus?
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (4707)
  2. T. Oshie (3438)
  3. M. Duchene (3312)
  4. D. Backes (3190)
  5. M. Brodeur (3142)