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From the Branches: Jake Gardiner Appreciation Day

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He's not a rookie, but he's scoring anyway!

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, PPP! In the light of yesterday's game, I thought I'd spend the beginning of the FTB talking about how Jake Gardiner is great. He's really great, guys! But don't take my word for it; look at his contributions to the Leafs' 3-1 win over the Stars last night.

He scores goals:

He helps Auston Matthews score goals, like a great teammate:

And on off days, he even cuddles puppies!

A photo posted by Jake Gardiner (@jgardiner272) on

By now, at age 26, he's the Leafs' #1 defenseman and probably knows at least five types of cheese. Jake's grown into a man before our very eyes.

Real talented indeed, Babs.

In Case You Missed It

Leafs vs. Stars Recap: High-Scoring Low-Scoring Hockey - Pension Plan Puppets
The Leafs win 3-1 in a game much less defensive than the score.

Furies recap: 218 - Pension Plan Puppets
In their final regular season games the Furies denied Caroline Ouellette one record and got Shannon Moulson another

A Letter To Our Friends The Bruins - Pension Plan Puppets
Fulemin has some words of wisdom and kindness for the Bruins.

Also, don't miss Stanley Cup of Chowder's heartfelt and loving response.

Maple Leafs News

Mike Babcock: 'You ain't getting better' than Claude Julien - Sportsnet.ca
Claude Julien won’t be stranded on the NHL’s unemployment line for long, according to Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock. (warning for autoplay)

Maple Leafs' lead-blowing an equal combination of mistakes and misfortune - Yahoo Sports Canada
Right now, the Toronto Maple Leafs are holding onto their leads like they’re covered in Vaseline.

News Around the NHL

Down Goes Brown: Pace your bets on the NHL trade deadline
The NHL trade deadline isn’t quite as big as the Super Bowl — yet — but there’s no reason we can’t set some odds and take some wagers.

Eyes on the Price: Al Montoya Steps Up - Eyes On The Prize
Montreal’s backup goalie proves his value once again

Travis Konecny will miss 4-to-6 weeks with injury because life is a cruel joke - Broad Street Hockey
Editor's Note: [high-pitched, incoherent screaming]

Scientist: NHL’s demand would harm all ongoing CTE research - TSN
For the past two years the NHL has been waging a quiet battle with Boston University to obtain all of the notes and summaries of those interviews, as well as any correspondence the school’s scientists have had with NHL players, agents, and families of players.

Have a good Wednesday, you guys, and remember to appreciate Jake Gardiner.