Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/29/14 at 03:23 PM ET
from Michael Traikos of the National Post,
They have a forward who ranked in the top five in league scoring and a goaltender who was amongst the league’s best. But ask Stephane Robidas what attracted him to the Toronto Maple Leafs and he immediately says the team’s defence.
“Morgan Rielly and Jake Gardiner,” Robidas said from his off-season home in Sherbrooke, Que. “When we talked about my role and what the Leafs are looking for, they’d like me to help the younger defencemen. To me that’s a great opportunity. I’ve watched them play. I know exactly how good they are and everything. Having a chance to play with one of the two and try to help those guys is going to be good for me.”...
In his first year in the NHL, Rielly scored two goals and 27 points in 73 games. But the fifth overall pick in 2012, who had a minus-13 rating, could have used someone to pick him up after a bad game. Gardiner, who was arguably Toronto’s best defenceman in the second half of the season but often clashed with head coach Randy Carlyle because of his sometimes risky decisions with the puck, might have also benefited from a veteran to lean on....
“I think it’s the poise they play with,” he said. “If I’m speaking for myself, I was never a high draft pick or the type of player that they are. It’s not easy to play defence in the NHL. To do it at a young age, it always amazes me how younger guys can come in and play and play well with that kind of confidence. To me, it’s not easy. Some people overlook it. It takes time to become comfortable.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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