The Maple Leafs are finding Randy Carlyle to be an open book.

And that's about the best read they can have on their coach.

"He is very much a straight shooter and he is very good at communicating and we always know where we stand with him," defenceman Cody Franson said. "It's a good system he has got going on. We always know what we have to improve on, what we have done well and how we have to do it. When you are informed like that, it is easy to make progress."

Carlyle's willingness to actually talk to his players is crucial, especially when he has a plethora of NHL defencemen at his disposal. The picture got a little clearer on Friday when Jake Gardiner was sent to the Toronto Marlies to shake the rust off, but if Carlyle continues to go with eight defencemen when the 22-year-old returns, he will have to be clear with those he scratches.

"The coaches have done a good job of handling the situation and talking to guys," Mike Komisarek said. "You continue with your work ethic, your positive attitude. Working hard in practice and being ready when the opportunity comes. We are going through a rotation right now.

"The one thing we can control is our attitude and our work ethic and for the most part staying positive and staying sharp."

Carlyle is a nice change from the man he replaced, Ron Wilson. The latter wasn't a natural communicator with the players.