The Leafs are set to visit the Anaheim Ducks as they continue to search for their first win of the season, and while one awkward stat is starting to creep up on them, it seems Gustavsson is ready, but possibly not completely game ready.
The Leafs have reassigned goaltender James Reimer to the AHL Marlies today, which means Jonas Gustavsson will be a part of the game. What is undetermined as of yet is whether or not he is getting the start. At this point, it’s a coin toss between the Monster and MacDonald, but do not be surprised if Gustavsson ends up starting the game on the bench.
The Leafs are not interested in rushing their top goaltender into action. If they feel another night off is necessary, there is no rush to throw him under the bus and scream “stop everything!” MacDonald, who had a very strong outing on Saturday night in Vancouver, may have even earned himself the job in goal tonight.
MapleLeafs.com suggests Gustavsson could start tonight:
“Toronto is still waiting to get its regular goaltending tandem of Vesa Toskala and Jonas Gustavsson back. Both players made the trip and Gustavsson could be activated for this game. Forward Phil Kessel, the Leafs’ big offseason acquisition, might be about 10 days from making his season debut. Knee surgery will cost defenseman Mike Van Ryn the entire season.”
Yes, you read that correctly, they gave Phil Kessel 10 days. I would not buy into that thought so quickly. Phil Kessel has told the team doctors his shoulder is not strong enough for the full physical practice. I believe at this point, Phil Kessel is the only determining factor of how he actually feels and if he says he is not 100%, give him more time. Howard Berger has talked with Phil Kessel and suggested he would not be available for another 3 to 4 weeks.
While all these things go on around Leaf-land, there is one unfortunate stat that is starting to linger rather strongly: the “Playoff Point”. For a club that has suggested it will be competing for the post-season this year, I have done many determining assessments of how many games a team cannot afford to lose in order to crack the very last position.
A few seasons ago, that number was 91 points, then 92, and last season it was 93 points by the Montreal Canadiens. If you go off the 93 points assessment, here is how it breaks down:
There are 82 games or 164 points.
The Leafs have played 8 games or 16 points, and only have 1 point in those efforts.
If the Leafs require 93 points, and already have one, that’s 92 points they require in their final 74 games.
Divide 92 points in half: 46 games.
Subtract the 46 games (wins) from their 74 final games: 28 games.
If the Leafs lose anymore than 28 games (56 points), they are officially out of the playoffs.
I apologize if that’s already a hard pill to swallow at this point, but facts are facts, and the Leafs need to get out of this funk right now. If they do not, and there are no draft picks to look forward to, this will be a complete write-off season for the Maple Leafs.
But with every end, there is a new beginning, and it’s where the Leafs want to begin tonight. It all starts with the Anaheim Ducks.
Micheal A. Aldred