Ron Wilson will stick with the struggling Vesa Toskala as his slumping Maple Leafs, fresh off two consecutive losses by a collective score of 12-3, look to get off the schneid against Alex Ovechkin’s red-hot Washington Capitals.
Word is that Justin Pogge has been returned to the Toronto Marlies, a move that’s difficult to understand. With Toskala absolutely sucking at the moment (6.16 GAA in his last four) and James Reimer performing promisingly in his debut performance for Marlies, one would think the time’s right to give Pogge his second go-around of the season. However, one can assume that Toskala’s poor play as of late is diminishing his trade value and in that sense it’s understandable why Brian Burke and Ron Wilson are sticking with VeTo and hoping he can come through this poor patch of play. Toskala continues to wax blase about his play recently, telling the Globe “I’m able to put some stuff behind me and I’m able to laugh at some stuff.” Apparently, Toskala’s got some sort of masochist complex. Your say: do we chalk this up to self-assuredness and confidence in his ability to rebound or evidence of a Raycroft-like laissez faire attitude?
Toskala won’t have it easy tonight against a Capitals team riding the momentum of a five game winning streak spearheaded by Alex Ovechkin. Ovechkin has nine goals in his last eight outings. Fortunately for the Leafs, the Caps’ supporting cast is largely depleted by injuries at the moment with Brian Pothier, Jeff Schultz, John Erskine, Sergei Fedorov, Tomas Fleischman, Alexander Semin, Tom Poti all out for today’s tilt inside the Verizon Center according to TSN.
Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs learned from doctors today that they will be without their top point-scorer in Matt Stajan for at least a week after he sustained a freak eye injury juggling a soccer ball in warm-up Saturday. Jamal Mayers will return to the line-up now that he’s sufficiently recovered from a broken hand suffered in a December 1st win over the Kings.
In a good bit of coordination by league schedulers, Leafs fans will look on as Mike Gartner (one of the more underrated players in hockey history) has his number eleven jersey retired by the Capitals tonight.