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03-08-2013, 08:04 AM
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janesy12's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Newfoundland
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Originally Posted by Duke Silver View Post
Are you kidding me? Gardiner lead all Leafs defencemen in takeaways last season (tied - Gunnarsson). The puck was ALWAYS on his stick. He's smart with his stick, much like Lidstrom was, without having to be physical.

And no, I'm not saying he's the next Lidstrom, nor am I saying he's anywhere near Lidstrom. I'm just saying that there's more than one way to get the puck away from an opponent. You don't need to be a bruiser.

His shiftiness and mobility being a major asset, when he got the puck he was often able to skate the puck out of the Leafs zone himself. He also entered the offensive zone with the puck with ease, allowing the Leafs to retain possession and set up shop, most notably on powerplays. He possesses a lot of the same abilities as Erik Karlsson does, without the point-per-game offensive ability obviously.

It has been well-established that Gunnarsson is playing through an injury. I prefer to evaluate him based on what he has shown us over the last 3 years (stability, a defensively-aware counterpart to Phaneuf) than over the last 6 weeks. Leafs Nation is far too "what-have-you-done-for-me-lately" for my liking, and this is Exhibit A. You don't throw away a proven, dependable, veteran NHL defenceman on a whim like that. That's silliness.

The issue with Kostka isn't that he's "just an AHLer", it's that we have a better, more proven option on the farm who is being unfairly held back because of contract status.

Neither of you have made a compelling case for Kostka over Gardiner.
I'd take Holzer out of the lineup before Kostka or Gunnar. Holzer has been brutal the last few games and it's really starting to wear on Phaneuf. Phaneuf looks tired, and is giving way more pucks than usual due to trying to over compensate for his lackluster partner IMO.

I'd move Gunnar back up with Phaneuf and move Phaneuf to the right side where he's more comfortable. Holzer comes out of the lineup, Gardiner plays with Kostka which is a pairing that looked great with the Marlies earlier this year. Then our third pairing stays Fraser/Franson, as I think that pairing has been our most consistent all year.

Gunnar/Phaneuf have had success in the past, no reason to think they won't now, even taking Gunnar's clear health status into account.

My main point: Gardiner has to be in this lineup. AINEC.

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