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Leafs make Gardiner healthy scratch vs. Pittsburgh

Nov 27, 2013, 1:43 PM EDT

Jake Gardiner Getty Images

Toronto defenseman Jake Gardiner will miss his first game of the season on Wednesday, as he’s being made a healthy scratch for tonight’s contest in Pittsburgh.

I’ve just got to make better decisions with the puck,” Gardiner told Sportsnet upon learning of his demotion. “I wasn’t very good last game so I think I just need to improve on taking care of the puck a little bit better.”

Gardiner, 23, had a rough outing in Monday’s 6-0 loss to Columbus and will be replaced in the lineup by Paul Ranger. Under normal circumstances, Gardiner’s demotion wouldn’t be a big issue — but given how things transpired for him last year in Toronto, it will garner additional attention.

Gardiner was in and out of the Leafs’ lineup (and Randy Carlyle’s doghouse) last season, to the point where Gardiner’s agent, Ben Hankinson, utilized the #FreeJakeGardiner hashtag on Twitter. The move caused a minor kerfuffle within the Toronto organization — “I’m not sure it was well thought out,” said then-Marlies coach Dallas Eakins — but Gardiner did rebound to appear in six of Toronto’s seven playoff games against Boston, finishing second among d-man scorers with five points.

Gardiner has no goals and five assists in 24 games this year, averaging over 20 minutes per night.

  1. alicesrightfootesq - Nov 27, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Trade him to Carolina.

    • bbirr - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      New York. Del zotto

  2. lowenni - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    He’s an absolutely fantastic skater. And that’s about it.

    • withseidelinn - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      Needs work on his shot, passing ability, physical play and defensive coverage. Pretty much what you said.

    • bbirr - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:45 PM

      Really? Before Carlyle he was the leafs best puck moving d, put up awesome numbers and led their d in +\- while playing with more confidence. He and franson played almost even his rookie year while all the other ‘defensive,’ stay at home types were a respectable, collective, -60!
      He is still a work in progress and was by far their most dominant player in the playoffs.
      Another typical Carlyle coached d-first effort tonight with 50 shots against and another touchdown against us.
      Paul ranger was a stud tonight.

      • bbirr - Nov 30, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Loss to buffalo, the worst team in hockey. No Ryan miller didn’t stand on his head. We were outshot by the worst team in hockey. Pretty sad considering the talent on each team inst even comparible.
        Let’s hear another dozen randy Carlyle quotes relating to how they don’t play how he asks them to, they haven’t bought in, or until they decide, etc etc amd then follow it up with what a defensive guru he is.
        They gave up more shots and goals than any other playoff team last yr and leafs fans thought they would go deep in the playoffs?
        Since Carlyle has been here his teams seem to give up a ton of shots, goals, and blow leads. They are inconsistent and he really likes stay at home d who ironically give up a ton of great scoring chances and therefore, goals. Dave nonis has done nothing substantial but luck out on mason Raymond and over pay for david clarkson. Other than that he makes a lot of leafs 4th line, marlies 1st and 2nd line moves.
        In unrelated news, Carlyle put Gardiner back in and he played a ton, played very solidly, had an assist and was the only plus 2 player in the game.

  3. badgerhockey77 - Nov 28, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Gardiner is getting worse, not better. Total flop to far.

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