Jonas Gustavsson—The “Monster” Has Arrived!

January 11th, 2012 3 Comments

After a rough December which saw the Toronto Maple Leafs lose nine games, the Blue and White are turning things around to start 2012.

With a 2-0 victory over the hated Buffalos Sabres on Tuesday night, the Maple Leafs have now registered four wins in a row and are 6-2-2 in their past ten games.

So, what is the key to Toronto’s sudden surge? A better effort on the penalty kill, more disciplined play and, of course, the superb play of goaltender Jonas Gustavsson.

Gustavsson has earned the starting role between the pipes largely due to his spectactular play over his past 12 games where he has posted a 9-3-0 record and registered a save percentage over .930 over that period.

Last night’s shutout was the second in three games for Gustavsson. With four wins in a row and an impressive 13-7-0 record on the season, Gus looks to have turned the corner on a poor start to the season which saw him go 3-3 in October.

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke once said of Gustavsson, “he’s the best goaltender not playing in the NHL”. With so many young goaltenders making a splash at the NHL level the past few seasons Burke’s words have not come to fruition, but Gustavsson might just prove Burke right about that, sooner or later.

For Gustavsson, his recent success has been a long time coming. Since arriving in the NHL Gustavsson has had to endure a number of injuries (including a heart ailment) and the loss of both of his parents.

Complicating matters, goaltending coach Francois Allaire has been hard at work behind the scenes changing Gustavsson’s game to a more NHL-friendly hybrid style.

Gustavsson’s injuries, personal losses, questionable confidence and the change in his style of play hampered his results, causing some fans to wonder if he would have a future with the Maple Leafs.

After being given every shot to assume the starters role last season, Gustavsson’s game fell off, which led the Maple Leafs to give James Reimer a shot as their number one goalie.

The Reimer experiment was a huge success, as Optimus Reims registered an impressive 20-10-5 record, to go along with a 2.60 goals against average and a sparkling .921 save percentage.

For Reimer, injuries and some tough luck has conspired to limit his action this season, culminating in a 7-4-4 record, to go along with a bloated 3.01 goals against average and a less than stellar .900 save percentage.

To head coach Ron Wilson’s credit, he has always maintained Gustavsson would find his game, which saw Wilson continue to give Gus opportunities to prove himself.

With Gustavsson playing well and the Buds going undefeated in four straight contests at Home, it appears as if “the monster” will be getting the lion’s share of the workload going forward.

With a nickname like “The Monster”, expectations have always been high for Gustavsson. Now, with Gustavsson finally playing up to the expectations that followed him from Sweden, it is safe to say that the monster has finally arrived!

Until next time,

Peace!

3 Comments

  1. Hudson says:

    I am so glad they have been patient with him. He looks like a different goaltender, that’s for sure. We’re also playing great in front of him, which is something he didn’t have through much of the first half of the season. I think the whole team is tightening up. Two shutouts in a short span is also about the team. Gus has very rarely had to be all splayed out, or positioned for gimme goals, as in players leaving people open for cross ice action down low or in the slot.

    Great game, Kuli, too! What a hit…man. Does he ever play hard. I never lost my patience with him either. He’s good for a heck of a lot besides scoring. I wonder if he might take to dishing out the do svidaniya’s.

    How did you like Komo’s game? Looks just fine to me. Had some nice plays.

  2. Mark Ritter says:

    Hey Hud-

    Never disliked Komi’s game, disliked the amount of time he got in his first game back. He was back down to just over 16 minutes last night, which is where I think komi should be. Better effort on the PK and far less penalties helping matters. Five-on-five this has been a very good club all season, on the PK, not so much! Kules hit was just awesome! Here’s hoping he finds his scoring touch soon!

    Peace!

  3. Hudson says:

    Looking back, you are probably right about his minutes on his return. Do you think that is where he should be always, or do you think he should be a 20 minute guy when on his game? At 16 minutes, I wonder how many D are in the league at that price per shift? I just hope he continues to elevate his game as he began to earlier this year. 20 or 16, there has to be a $4mil man in there somewhere.

    Agreed on the PK, no doubt. I have always wanted us to be tougher, but more disciplined. And this has been a very nice little stretch of that. If you can’t kill the time, don’t do the crime!

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