Time for Randy Carlyle, Jake Gardiner to reconnect

Things went wrong between Jake Gardiner and Leafs coach Randy Carlyle during training camp and have...

Things went wrong between Jake Gardiner and Leafs coach Randy Carlyle during training camp and have been at a stalemate since. (Michael Peake/QMI Agency)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:13 PM ET

The disconnect between Randy Carlyle and Jake Gardiner began sometime during the shortened Maple Leaf training camp — and hasn’t been repaired since.

Carlyle thought Gardiner was ready to play before the young defenceman was truly ready to return from concussion this season. But like a lot of players do, Gardiner felt somewhat pressured and returned prematurely.

Carlyle played him in two games, regretted it, and then tore a strip off the kid. He told basically told him: “I can’t play you, you make too many mistakes.”

He hasn’t played for the Leafs since, even though he should be playing by now. The trust factor between player and coach, from both sides, isn’t what it should be for a prospect of Gardiner’s skill set. That happens sometimes.

Carlyle is an excellent coach, but a terribly stubborn man at times. The time to repair this disconnect is now. A recall is the best way to start.



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