Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle and young forward Joe Colborne had a lengthy on-ice chat at the end of practice Tuesday morning.

Colborne has had a total of 15 shifts in two games since he was recalled from the Toronto Marlies.

“Joe is treading water a little bit here right now,” Carlyle said. “I talked to him about our expectations, the tenacity, the drive, all of those things. They have to go up. He is getting an opportunity. We are trying to say, ‘Hey, you are going to be rewarded for the work you have put in (with the Marlies).’ Bottom line is, I need more desperation, determination, all those things from him and he agrees.”

Learning on the job is not simple, but Colborne said he is doing okay.

“Randy said to make sure I bear down on every battle and I am going to try to improve on that,” Colborne said. “It’s a game of battles every shift, and the teams that win more usually end up coming out on top.”

Defenceman Jake Gardiner finds himself in a similar spot. Gardiner was a healthy scratch against the Rangers on Monday as O’Byrne made his Leafs debut and scored a goal.

“(Gardiner) has handled it like a professional,” Carlyle said. “He would like to be in the lineup, but it is the chicken before the egg theory. Coaches say, ‘If you play better, you play more,’ and players say, ‘If you played me more, I would play better.’

“That is always what you are dealing with. He is a young player and I am not going to try to put him in situations you can’t survive.”

It’s clear Carlyle has trust in another youngster, forward Ryan Hamilton.

“Put him on the ice, you know what you are going to get,” Carlyle said. “He will block shots, he is strong along the wall and he is a good penalty killer. He makes himself useful a bunch of different ways and that is always a comfort zone for a coach.”