January 15, 2011
Giguere back in net
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - The Maple Leafs should have one familiar face back and one new one in their lineup when they take on the Calgary Flames at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
Veteran goaltender J-S Giguere will get the start in net for the first time since Dec. 16 after missing 12 games with a groin injury, while forward Marcel Mueller has been called up from the Marlies to help fill the hole left by injuries to Kris Versteeg and Fredrik Sjostrom, as well as Mike Brown’s three-game suspension.
It wasn’t definite that Mueller would dress Saturday as Leafs coach Ron Wilson hadn’t ruled out Sjostrom completely, but in all likelihood the 6-foot-3, 230-pound German will get his first taste of NHL action and could be slotted alongside winger Colby Armstrong and centre Darryl Boyce. Versteeg said after the team’s morning skate that he is not ready to return.
“We need somebody who can come in and provide some offence and he was playing really well right now, so he gets the call,” Wilson said of Mueller.
“I think the game is on CBC, Hockey Night In Canada, and I’ll just do everything I normally do and it will just work out, I guess,” an enthusiastic Mueller said.
In 39 games with the Marlies this season, Mueller has seven goals and 13 assists, along with 34 penalty minutes and a plus-1 rating. The Leafs originally signed the 22-year-old native of Berlin as a free agent last summer. A product of the German Elite League, Mueller represented his country at the Vancouver Olympics, registering two assists in four games.
Giguere (8-7-2, 2.80 GAA), meanwhile, is back in net against the Flames (19-20-5), the same team he re-injured his groin against on Dec. 16. In that game, he allowed four goals on 24 shots before being replaced by Jonas Gustavsson, who once again gets the back-up role after watching as Marlies call-up James Reimer, who has been sent back down to clear roster space, racked up four straight wins prior to Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Phoenix.
“I really took my time on this one,” Giguere said of not rushing back from his groin injury. “For me, the key, really, is to try to go all the way to the end (of the season) ... It’s been tough mentally (dealing with his groin issues). Every time, we thought we were doing the right thing. I was cleared by the doctor and the trainers thought I was ready to go, and I personally felt the same way. Hopefully this is the last time we’ll have to talk about that and from now on we’ll move forward and try to have a good second half of the season.”
Missing Versteeg and Brown from the lineup will make it that much tougher for the Leafs (18-21-4) to follow up their recent road success with another victory.