One-on-one with Jake Gardiner
Here’s what Leafs defenceman Jake Gardiner had to say, after a recent Marlies game:
Q: After playing 75 NHL games in your rookie season, how have you made the psychological adjustment to having to play in the AHL because of the lockout?
A: I’m used to it. Last year I played in the AHL in the playoffs, so I know these guys really well. It’s a fun team, we’re pretty good and we should be successful. So it’s just nice to come down and know these guys, and have a good team here.
Q: Your defence partner Mike Kostka was on the Norfolk team that swept the Marlies in last year’s Calder Cup Final. Does the rivalry ever come up in conversation?
A: Yes, a few times it has. He’s not too kind about it, but I don’t blame him! So, congratulations to them. He tries to keep pretty quiet about it, he doesn’t want to rile the guys up.
Q: How did advancing to the Calder Cup Final help you in terms of your development?
A: It’s a long season and you’ve got to take care of your body. Once you get to the playoffs, everybody steps up their game a lot. If you’re in better shape than the other team, and if mentally you’re there too, then obviously it’s a lot easier to win.
Q: How optimistic are you in terms of an end to the NHL lockout?
A: It’s just got to come to a fair deal. I hope it happens, but at the same time, you just have to come to a fair deal. If that happens, great. If it doesn’t, then that’s how it is.
Q: Team USA and Team Canada will be battling for the (women’s) Four Nations Cup next month. Canada has had trouble facing USA forward Hilary Knight, a fellow University of Wisconsin graduate. What makes her a great player?
A: She was there at Wisconsin when I was there. Watching her on the ice in practice, we joked around that she could be on the men’s team, and actually I think she probably could have been. She’s definitely got better hands than I do! She’s a great player and definitely a lot of fun to watch.
Rob Del Mundo is the author of Off The Post, and is a regular columnist at TMLfans.ca
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