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.
Montreal Canadiens winger Zack Kassian was involved in a car accident early Sunday morning.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Kassian was a passenger in a vehicle that ran into a tree.
The Canadiens have since confirmed the incident took place and have also mentioned that Kassian was taken to hospital.
A club official described his injuries as being “minor”.
“(Kassian) was all bloodied up and stuff. He was in a daze,” said Steve Petrenko, a resident of the street on which the accident took place. “He had a hard time walking, and he almost took a fall.”
This story will be updated when more information is made available.
The Montreal Canadiens announced that they have signed Tomas Fleischmann to a one-year contract.
According to TVA Sports, the deal is worth $750,000.
The 31-year-old was invited to camp on a professional tryout, but his preseason performance showed that he could still contribute at the NHL level.
Fleischmann found instant chemistry with new linemates David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and it looks like the trio will open the regular season as Montreal’s third line.
The veteran winger started last season with Florida, but was traded to Anaheim on Feb. 28. He had a hard time cracking the Duck’s lineup and was a healthy scratch in most of their playoff games last spring.
Fleischmann scored eight goals and 27 points in 66 games last season.