Gardiner OK with sitting Saturday

Leaf defenceman Jake Gardiner is not expected to be in the line up Saturday night.  The Toronto...

Leaf defenceman Jake Gardiner is not expected to be in the line up Saturday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs practised at the Mastercard Centre Thursday October 13, 2011. (CRAIG ROBERTSON/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:07 PM ET

Jake Gardiner more or less confirmed on Thursday what Ron Wilson has been loathe to acknowledge.

Gardiner, who surprised nearly everyone when he landed a job on the Maple Leafs blue line out of training camp, is quite sure he will be a healthy scratch when Cody Franson makes his Leafs debut on Saturday night against the Calgary Flames.

“They told me they were going to take me slow and ease me into playing time and stuff like that, so I kind of expected this,” Gardiner, 21, said. “It’s not the end of the world. I’m just going to play my best in practice and keep going.

“We have a lot of games coming up, and I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure I will play in a couple of those games at least.”

In the Leafs’ first two games, both victories, Gardiner averaged 12 minutes and 49 seconds of ice time, the lowest among the six Toronto defencemen. His minus-2 mark is the lowest among the defencemen, though his partner, Mike Komisarek, is minus-1. Gardiner has no points or penalty minutes.

Gardiner likely won’t be out of the lineup for long. General manager Brian Burke said during camp that if youngsters crack the roster, they will play.


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