Ron Wilson was interviewed today after the Leafs practice, and he revealed the plan moving towards the weekend concerning the goaltenders and the return of Vesa Toskala, as well as what we have all been waiting to hear about – the return (or rather arrival) of Phil Kessel to the Leafs lineup.
Update: Tlusty Up, Stalberg Down, thanks to “canucksnaphook” and “Leafsfan87” for info.
Discussing Vesa Toskala and his ability to play, Ron Wilson said “he’s ready to back up tomorrow, but that means he’s ready to play. He’ll back up Jonas tomorrow.”
The Leafs have found some new confidence in the offensive zone, and Ron Wilson gives the credit to solid goaltending on behalf of Gustavsson who also has a competitive nature as he left last night’s game in a fit of frustration. “Jonas is playing the way we expected him to play, and it allows us to be a bit more confident when we play when you know you’re getting big saves back there at the right time,” said Wilson. “We’ll decide after the game tomorrow if we’re going to play him in Montreal. Vesa is ready to play.”
It’s like Vesa Toskala gets the start in Montreal on Saturday night, but fans have called out immediately to a goaltending controversy should the Leafs actively pursue Toskala as the number one starter for the second time this season. “I’m not even going to talk about that,” said Wilson. “If this is a controversy, there is ten times more controversy in some other cities with regards to goaltenders.”
Reporters then jumped to the speculation of Phil Kessel joining the Leafs lineup, and while Ron Wilson tried to remain discrete about the situation, he did speak honestly towards when he expects the young sniper to get back on the ice.”He’s not going to return until next week when we play at home.” Ron Wilson then considered the potential of line juggling relatively soon, to which he said “we have Kessel coming next week, so we’re just trying to figure out where Phil’s going to fit in and where I have to move people to be ready for that.”
The Leafs recent success has moved them to 1st in the league on the PP with a 30.8% success rate, but their penalty killing is still a league’s worst 63.4% success rate. With more consistent and strong goaltending to back them up, that number will surely begin to rise as Toronto continues to secure more and more points in the standings.
Micheal A. Aldred