Jake Gardiner presents Leafs with dilemma

Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner. (QMI Agency)

Maple Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner. (QMI Agency)

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:54 PM ET

The human conundrum that is Jake Gardiner may end up challenging the relationship between Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle and general manager Dave Nonis.

On one side is Carlyle, often frustrated by Gardiner's play and decision making, not committed to playing the young defenceman every night and in every situation.

The talented but erratic Gardiner would represent a challenge for any coach. But for a coach who demands specifics as much as Carlyle does, this almost seems like a relationship doomed to fail.

This is where Nonis fits in. He has the patience of Job. He's not willing to make a determination of Gardiner, either way, this early.

He believes too many teams have made mistakes determining the fate of young defencemen, way too soon. It's his inclination to allow Gardiner to develop at whatever speed is necessary. Carlyle, who hasn't said as much, can't possibly agree.


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