Leafs have faith in Toskala

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:01 PM ET

The thought of sitting Vesa Toskala when the Leafs next play isn't in Ron Wilson's game plan.

After a spirited practice at the Air Canada Centre today, Wilson reiterated that he's going to stick with his Finnish goaltender, despite some struggles in each of his past two starts.

"He's the number one goalie and I have a lot of faith that he can get the job done," Wilson said today. "Vesa knows he has to play better. And we've got some veteran defenceman who have to do better too, especially early in games."

Wilson acknowledged that the first Bruins goal in Monday's 3-2 loss was one that any goalie would like to have back and that Toskala let in a couple of soft ones against Vancouver on Saturday. Wilson gave Toskala the hook after two periods of that 4-2 loss.

"We're not a good enough team where we can spot a team a couple of goals in the first period," Wilson said. "He's just been inconsistent. He has to find a way to be consistent."

With three days of practice time before the Leafs' home date against Chicago, the focus today was on conditioning with a high-tempo workout heavy on skating.

"Finally we had a chance to work on our conditioning level,' Wilson said of his team who had played four games in seven nights prior to having an off day on Tuesday. "We've been pretty much playing every day. Today was a conditioning day. We'll work on other parts of our game tomorrow and Friday."

In other news from practice, struggling forward Alex Steen was demoted to the fourth line though Wilson said not to read to much into it and that Steen isn't necessarily in line for a benching.

And rookie John Mitchell, who suffered a mild shoulder separation two weeks ago continues to work hard towards a possible return against the Blackhawks.


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