It was one small step for Curtis Joseph last night, and one giant pain in the rear for Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson.
After Wilson replaced starting goaltender Vesa Toskala for Joseph to start the third period, the Air Canada Centre faithful began chanting "Cujo! Cujo!"
And Wilson wasn't really impressed.
He appreciates the loyalty Leafs fans have for Joseph, who played his first regular-season game as a Leaf in Toronto since May 28, 2002 (a 2-1 playoff loss to Carolina). But he's not going to allow a few fans to dictate his goaltending rotation. Even though Wilson wasn't impressed with Toskala in a 6-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, Wilson is going to start the Finn tomorrow night when the St. Louis Blues visit Toronto.
"I don't think Vesa was very sharp, he was back and deep in his net," Wilson said. "He got tentative like the rest of our team. But Vesa's our No.1 goalie and he gets right back in there."
Toskala gave up six goals on 23 shots in the first two periods and Joseph went the rest of the way without giving up anymore, stopping Sergei Kostitsyn and Alex Kovalev on breakaways in the third.
"Not taking anything away from Cujo ... the breakaways, they hit the post a few times," Wilson said. "But he did make a couple of saves, and that was good for Cujo's confidence, that he didn't give up anything. He's had a couple rough outings in the pre-season.
"It was a good opportunity to get Cujo's feet wet," Wilson added.
Joseph said he wasn't thrown by a couple of shaky starts in the pre-season.
"I've had indifferent pre-seasons before," he said. "It was nice to get in there. Now we're 1-1 and Monday's a new game."