Toskala no turncoat

LANCE HORNBY

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

No, Vesa Toskala isn't a turncoat for using a goalie stick stamped MONTREAL in block letters.

It's an actual stick company in Finland, started by NHLer Teppo Numminen's father Kalevi in 1960, named for the team that Kalevi knew had just won its fifth straight Stanley Cup. Kalevi was a coach of the Finnish national team in 1980 that lost the 'Miracle On Ice' gold medal game to the U.S.

"It's a good stick," Toskala said of any offence taken by Leaf fans.

The younger Numminen is proud of the company's history.

"We're just a small company, going up against Nike and Reebok and these multibillion-dollar companies," he told the Buffalo News in a recent article.

Other goalie customers are Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames and Martin Biron.

When Numminen first suggested Biron use a Montreal stick, the latter won the first of 13 straight starts, the Sabres' record, using the same stick until it broke in the 13th game.

STRALMAN A MARLIE

Anton Stralman has been talked into joining the Toronto Marlies, at least for a day.

The young Swedish defenceman was demoted by the Leafs and played well in a 4-1 Marlies win over the Rochester Americans.

Stralman was not interested in staying on the farm if he didn't make the Leafs, preferring to play in Sweden. But with no Marlie games for another six days, it was a good compromise.

ALL IN THE MIND

Coach Paul Maurice said there are four possible mindsets for an NHL team to have when it returns for a new season.

"One team (the Cup champion) is going to be in a pretty good mood," Maurice said. "Then you have the other teams who made the playoffs who have reason for (optimism), then comes the teams who missed the playoffs and had a lousy summer.

"Then there are the teams who were out of it in December."

LOVE THEM CUBS

The trials of the Chicago Cubs are tearing up Leafs defenceman Andy Wozniewski, a Windy City native.

"I go to a lot of games, about 10 per season, with a couple of friends," he said. "I've cheered for them since I was a kid, not that other team (White Sox)."


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