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Leafs recall AHL tough guy to “defend teammates if that’s called upon”

Jay Rosehill

The first transaction of the Randy Carlyle era is in the books: Toronto has recalled Jay Rosehill from the AHL Marlies.

Rosehill has been a bit player with the Leafs this year -- he’s appeared in 16 games, averaging 5:52 of ice time -- spending most of his time in the minors. And it’s in the minors where Rosehill first gained infamy, fighting 33 times during the 2008-09 season with the Norfolk Admirals.

Later, he gained some big-league notoriety with scraps against Francis Lessard and Brian McGrattan:

As you can see, Rosehill likes to throw ‘em -- something that clearly played a role in Monday’s recall.

“Rosie’s obviously an aggressive player, a big guy, who has to be a physical force, has to be an energy player, has to defend teammates if that’s called upon,” Carlyle told the National Post. “Whether he’ll play or not, I haven’t really decided. But we always want to make sure that we have that comfort for our skilled players.”

This might seem like an innocuous roster move, but there’s something more to it.

In discussing recently-fired head coach Ron Wilson, Leafs GM Brian Burke made it clear there was a difference in opinion on how much toughness the Leafs were icing on a regular basis.

“I think if there’s one philosophical commitment that Randy and I share it’s I like a rough team,” Burke said. “And I think if you can point to one thing where Ron and I were on a different page slightly would be that. I like it a little rougher than Ron does.

/muffled laughter

“But that’s the only part that we disagreed on. Ronnie likes tough players if they can play too. But with Randy, he’s hard on the players, he’s demanding, that’s what I want.”

Burke and Carlyle, you’ll recall, were at the helm of Anaheim’s rough-and-tumble 2007 Stanley Cup team that featured the likes of George Parros, Shawn Thornton, Shane O’Brien, Travis Moen, Sean O’Donnell, Brad May and Todd Fedoruk.