Jake Gardiner

Leafs’ Gardiner ‘not sure what’s going on’ with being healthy scratch


Jake Gardiner has gone from being one of Toronto’s most important defensemen to one of its least-used ones.

And he doesn’t really know how it happened.

“I’m not sure what’s going on,” Gardiner Told the Toronto Star. “I feel like I can definitely contribute. I’m going to do whatever the team needs to win.

“I’m just going to try to contribute any way I can.”

The 22-year-old blueliner has appeared in just eight games for the Leafs this season, failing to score a goal while registering just two assists.

It appears he doesn’t have the trust of head coach Randy Carlyle, who has repeatedly made Gardiner a healthy scratch lately.

(As diagrammed in my impressive Gardiner chart):

Mar. 26, 3-2 win over Florida: 21:09 TOI, one shot, minus-1
Mar. 28, 6-3 win over Carolina: Healthy scratch
Mar. 30, 4-0 win over Ottawa: Healthy scratch
Apr. 4, 5-3 loss to Philly: Healthy scratch
Apr. 6, 2-1 win over New Jersey: 16:27 TOI, plus-1
Apr. 8, 4-3 win over New York Rangers: Healthy scratch

Do keep in mind this is the same Gardiner who, as a 21-year-old rookie last season, played 75 games, finished second among all Leafs defensemen in scoring (30 points) and averaged 21:35 a night.

This season, he was derailed by a concussion suffered while playing for the AHL Marlies in December. But he says he’s at full health and ready to contribute — the latter of which Carlyle doesn’t agree with.

“He’s a young player and I’m not going to put him in situations he can’t survive,” Carlyle explained. “That to me is the most important thing with our young players.”

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One
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Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.