Leafs goalies lookin' out for No. 1

Goaltender controversy is brewing in Toronto again. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI AGENCY)

Goaltender controversy is brewing in Toronto again. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI AGENCY)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 PM ET

TORONTO - The first rumblings of a goaltending controversy have begun, with master Jean-Sebastien Giguere almost ready to return and student Jonas Gustavsson playing more like his peer than an apprentice.

It’s a good problem to have, but coach Ron Wilson took the most diplomatic stance he could on Wednesday after practice. It was just Gustavsson and Giguere, with James Reimer back with the Marlies after subbing for Giguere during his groin injury.

“Jiggy really supports Jonas,” Wilson said. “It’s not as though he’s saying: ‘I have to get in there now and play’.

“Over his career he’s had lots of groin issues and knows you don’t go from one full practice to playing. We’ll get him a good hard skate after (Thursday’s morning workout), then one more practice and we’ll make a decision about starting then.”

Gustavsson made 35 saves on Tuesday in the Leafs’ overtime loss to Tampa Bay, but if he has a good game against the Oilers he could come back to play against the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

PUMPING UP KADRI

While Wilson and general manager Brian Burke have been hard on Nazem Kadri in the media at times, the rookie has been getting a much rougher ride at practice from bigger players who aren’t taking his lack of size into account.

“He doesn’t have that (physical testing) in junior,” Wilson said with a grin.

“He knows he has to get stronger and use his body on the ice. Sometimes he has to adapt to leverage because his skill means he doesn’t have to be involved in physical battles.

“But he was the first guy here this morning in the weight room and doing this kind of stuff will only make him a better player. It’s a little bit of pain right now for the gain later on.”

Kadri was at centre most of Tuesday and back there on Wednesday morning, but he was hooked for Tyler Bozak late in the Tampa Bay game.

LOST DRAW, LOST GAME

The Leafs replayed the series of breakdowns from the faceoff that led to Tampa Bay’s late tying goal a million times in their head since Tuesday. Should winger Clarke MacArthur have switched sides to cover the extra Bolt forward who came out to give them numbers in front, could the Leafs have blocked the shot by Martin St. Louis or would anything bad happened at all if Bozak had simply won the draw?

“Bozie won it, but unfortunately it went off our guy (MacArthur and to the point),” Phil Kessel said of what he saw as pure bad luck.

Kessel agreed the game shouldn’t have been allowed to get to that stage.

“A 3-1 lead, that’s shocking. You can’t blow that, you have to get it done.”

LOOSE LEAFS

Assuming that defenceman Tomas Kaberle plays against the Oilers on Thursday, he will tie Darryl Sittler for eighth place in career games played as a Maple Leaf (844) ... Colton Orr fooled around in goal at the end of practice, letting Gustavsson shoot at him. The Monster beat him with a high backhand ... Wilson paid tribute to Oilers goalie Martin Gerber, who came to Toronto late in Wilson’s first season here to win six of 11 games and create a little playoff buzz. But his strong play and a Game 82 hat trick by the long-departed Boyd Devereaux ultimately kept the Leafs from getting higher than seventh in the draft, which included Luke Schenn’s brother Brayden at No. 5 and No. 3 overall Matt Duchene. They took Kadri seventh ... The Maple Leafs hope that Jerry D’Amigo will be chosen to play again for the U.S. team at the world junior hockey championship.


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