Nov 27, 2013, 1:43 PM EST
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.
- Steen, Blues hold on against Ovechkin, Capitals 4
- David Backes ejected after boarding, bloodying Karl Alzner 15
- End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov 4
- Leafs scoring slump hits historical low 24
- Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck 10
- Zamboni driver arrested for DUI, allegedly cleaned ice surface while drunk 18
- Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL 15
- Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout 12
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 5
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 29