Be-Leaf it or not

DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:45 PM ET

TORONTO - Before the Leafs played against the Boston Bruins on Monday, Leafs goaltender James Reimer, who had picked up his first career win Saturday in his first NHL start, was instructed by Leafs coach Ron Wilson not to tell media he would be in net that night. Instead, it was reported that Jonas Gustavsson likely would get the start.

Later, after the Bruins game in which Reimer made 31 saves but came out on the wrong end of a 2-1 loss, Wilson was asked why he had hidden the fact that Reimer would play. Wilson responded by ripping into the scribe, saying Toronto media puts too much pressure on the players and he just wanted Reimer to be able to focus on the job at hand.

So when Gustavsson announced after Thursday’s morning skate that he would be getting the start on Thursday night against St. Louis, the media wondered aloud if the big Swede would draw the ire of Wilson for saying so.

“You never know, maybe I tell you something and something else is going to happen. So, I don’t know if you can trust me,” Gustavsson joked.

LEVEL ICE

Leafs forward Tim Brent, who played for Canada in the world junior hockey tournament in 2004, says Canadians shouldn’t always expect their team to skate away with a gold medal.

“Hockey is a worldwide sport,” Brent said. “There are a lot of other great nations that play hockey from the time they are 3 years old, like we do. Their programs have gotten so much better. You look at Switzerland, how much they have progressed over the past 10 years. There’s parity in the game now and we can’t expect to win every year. But the fact that we’re going to the gold medal game year after year and giving ourselves a chance to win every year is something we should be proud of.”

HE’LL BE THERE

While the Leafs haven’t always been there for Gustavsson, not giving him the kind of goal support needed even when he shuts the door on opposing teams, defenceman Luke Schenn says the big Swede is always there for them.

“The one thing about Jonas is, he’ll battle for us every night,” Schenn said. “It doesn’t matter what the score is or how the game is going, or what the record shows, he’s going to come to play for us every night. He’s got a great work ethic and between him and Jiggy (Jean-Sebastien Giguere), those are the two goalies of all time I’ve seen who hate getting scored on, even in practice.”

KUDOS FOR KUZNETSOV

As if life in the Eastern Conference isn’t tough enough for the Leafs ...

“I know Brayden Schenn played great, but the most dynamic player I saw in that whole tournament was Evgeny Kuznetsov,” Wilson said about the world junior final between Canada and Russia.

“When he decided he was going to make a difference in the game, he certainly could. In the third period (Wednesday) and in the last five minutes of the other games, he was the dominant player.”

Guess who drafted Kuznetsov? None other than the Washington Capitals, with the 26th pick in the 2010 draft.


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