|Jonas Gustavsson will get his first taste of the NHL tonight in Detroit. (Sun Media/Craig Robertson)
Jonas Gustavsson will not have to wait long tonight to make his NHL debut.
Before departing for Detroit Friday afternoon, Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said the young goaltender will be his starter against the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena.
“There is no point having him sit on the bench, have him get cold, then put him out there (later in the game),” Wilson said. “The plan is for one period. If he doesn’t face a lot of shots, maybe will leave him in for 30 minutes.”
Wilson, like many Leaf fans, is anxious to see Gustavsson play in a game situation, although he is not putting too much pressure on the young goalie.
“It’s not like if he struggles tonight, we’re going to ship him back to Sweden,” Wilson said.
Wilson was blunt when asked about the difference between Tomas Kaberle at this year’s training camp as opposed to that of a year ago. Kaberle has been impressive thus far.
“It’s because he’s not fat like he was last year,” Wilson said.
Obviously Kaberle will have to stay out of Burkie’s Dog House, the new dining spot at the Air Canada Centre that sports about a dozen different types of franks.
LOOSE LEAFS: Phil Kessel was sweating after doing a number of gruelling laps at the Mastercard Centre Friday morning. “I’ve been out on the ice four or five times but that’s the hardest I’ve gone,” said Kessel, who is not allowed to wear full equipment while his surgically-repaired shoulder continues to heal. Wilson estimates Kessel will be out another six weeks ... While forward Jason Allison was listed as being in the lineup for tonight’s game, he once again was absent due to what the team is calling “illness.” He will not play against the Wings this evening. Question is: How can the coaching staff evaluate him when they hardly have had the opportunity to see him? ... Defenceman Jeff Finger, who has been out with a strained oblique, hopes to be back in the lineup for the second half of this home-and-home series with the Red Wings tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre. Finger was on the ice practising Friday morning. However Mike Van Ryn, who is dealing with a knee issue, was not.