KITCHENER -- Free agent goaltender Jonas Gustavsson looked steady, if not spectacular, in his Maple Leafs debut last night at the Memorial Auditorium.
The Monster made 35 saves, including an excellent glove stop on Eric Tangradi in the third period, as the Leafs opened the 2009 rookie tournament with a 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Joe Vitale did beat Gustavsson at 10:36 of the third on a deflection.
Viktor Stalberg, with the Leafs holding a two-man advantage, Greg Scott and Alex Berry, with an empty-netter, scored for Toronto.
There were two fights: Toronto forward Richard Greenop, who recorded 156 penalty minutes in 60 games for the Memorial Cup-champion Windsor Spitfires last season, earned a decision against Pittsburgh's Ryan Schnell, while Berry, another big Leaf, drew with the smaller Zach Sill.
Takes getting used to
Gustavsson said that it will take him some time to get used the smaller ice surface in North America, the touch-icing and the fact that he can't go anywhere he wants behind the net to retrieve the puck. He's also concerned about some of the angles the NHL players might shoot from given the smaller ice surface.
"I'm trying to adjust," he said.
Gustavsson admitted that the Leafs' hiring of goaltending coach Francois Allaire in the off-season, was a factor in him signing, as was, to a smaller degree, receiving a phone call from former Leafs and Team Sweden great Borje Salming.
"He said if you play good here, you will be big and everybody treats you well, and said he had a great time in Toronto," Gustavsson said.
The price just went up
Jim Balsillie can forget the roughly $12 million US he believed it would cost him to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, should he win the auction for the up-for-sale team.
A published report says the NHL has set its own relocation fee at anywhere between $101 million and $195 million.