Morning Mashup: Gardiner out, Franson in

Ron Wilson, Toronto Maple Leafs - Trenton Air Base

Ron Wilson, Toronto Maple Leafs - Trenton Air Base
Courtesy: Toronto Star

“As the pages turn”. It was a lite week for Toronto Maple Leafs News with the Leafs on their unusual 7-day-off cheduling glitch. They made good use of the time and made their way down the highway of heros to Trenton for a few days of practice, military drills, team building/bonding and gun shooting.

Cody Franson had his first experience in dealing with the Toronto media and set off a small fire when he said he was upset at not playing and that it was not how he had envisioned things panning out playing for the Leafs. Fair enough comments coming from a fiery competitor, but slow news days will get the better of people and this story quickly had legs, with people crying for him to be traded and on the first plane out of here. When you listen to the interview in context, it’s a frustrated player dying to get on the ice after five months out of regular season action. Given Franson found out he was scratched for the opener by watching an online interview, whether or not Ron Wilson has communicated this properly to the player is worthy discussion fodder.

Wilson has been accused of not communicating well with players before, and I’m sure we’ll hear it again. Here’s the thing: he doesn’t care if people see that as wrong. He has, believe it or not, a track history of working well with young teams and delivering his message loud and clear with them. He expects players to know the deal. The approach has worked in the past, and for someone that has 1,200 games coaching under his belt, this is unlikely to change. It rubs mostly everyone the wrong way, but it is what it is. It’s Ron Wilson.

Jake Gardiner has all but confirmed that he will be sitting Saturday and has taken it professionally, despite the disappointment. He knows and the management know that he will be a player in the league for many years and has some kinks to work out of his game. They will be worked out as he matures—be it here or the Marlies—and when he does, you have a surefire top 4 puckmover that will play in this league a long time. He was a -2 in his first two games with no points, so it’s time for someone else to have a crack at it. We’ll be seeing him again very soon.

Despite Cody Franson’s eagerness to get into the line-up, he’s drawn the ire of the fans and the media for speaking out and this can only go one way for him. He plays a quiet game with a little offensive jump and it’s hard for players like that to stand out as having good games. Had he said nothing, he could have got his chance to show the Leafs that they made a mistake (in his mind) and that he belongs. Now he’s up against it. Lesson #1 in the difference between Toronto media and the media in Nashville.

Another, more important story that has started to get progressively more serious is the status of Tim Connolly. His injury has now been upgraded from day-to-day, to week-to-week. It has been suggested (Jonas Siegel) that his injury was to his shoulder blade and this is inhibiting him from partaking in any stickhandling drills. Suddenly, the log jam at center doesn’t look so jammed anymore. Hopes are that Connolly will be able to play during the Western road trip that the Leafs are embarking on, or at the lastest when they come back for their Eastern finish to their lengthy road trip.

Leafs Links:

NHL Links

Mike Brown

David Steckel

Nazem Kadri

Ron Wilson