OTTAWA — Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson are headed for Splitsville.
What at first looked liked the Giguere Show with rookie Gustavsson reduced to sidekick status, will now see the two goaltenders split the Maple Leafs’ final 18 games, coach Ron Wilson said.
When Giguere arrived in a trade from Anaheim on
Jan. 31 and posted two home shutouts, the Leafs spoke of the veteran taking the bulk of the games, with the hot-and-cold Swede limited to one game a week.
But that plan was re-assessed after the Olympics, with the Leafs in a four-game slide and realizing Gustavsson wasn’t going to get any better sitting on the end of the bench. The latter also will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.
“I’m going to split them the rest of the way,” coach Ron Wilson said on Friday, likely Giguere getting a second chance to blank the Senators on Saturday, with Gustavsson playing in Philadelphia on Sunday. “We have to give Jonas a good opportunity the rest of the way to show what he can do.”
Giguere, meanwhile, insisted he never read the quotes about him playing most of the games, so he wasn’t going to complain about any broken promises by the club.
“They haven’t told me anything,” Giguere said. “I understand fully that Jonas has to sign a new contract before July 1 and they need to know whether he’s their guy or not.
“I think he is; he’s a big, tall guy who works extremely hard in practice. He has the tools, too, but saying that, we have to see what he can do in a game.
“I think we can help each other. Having two goalies who are fresh, who are working together, pushing each other, along with a goalie coach (Francois Allaire), we can learn from each other and make this team, more competitive.
“From my end, I want to re-establish myself as a No, 1 goalie.”