Monster feeling down, just like his career

STEVE SIMMONS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:10 PM ET

TORONTO - After the game ended and the dressing room cleared, Jonas Gustavsson sat alone, head down, not moving.

Just like the state of his fledgling career.

Itís one thing to be playing for the Toronto Marlies, where he doesnít want to be. Itís another to be lifted from a game, not because he wasnít playing up to par, but because the racing heart that previously threatened his professional career returned Wednesday morning at the Ricoh Centre for a rare early day game in the American Hockey League.

Gustavsson played one uneventful period against the sleepy Connecticut Whale, facing four shots that any minor bantam goalie could have handled, and didnít return for the rest of the 9-2 victory, and midway through the first 20 minutes knew something wasnít right.

ďI felt it in the first period. I donít know exactly when. Somewhere in the first I felt it,Ē said a rather disconsolate Gustavsson post game. This season, to date, has not gone his way. After a decent start, he began playing erratically for the Leafs. The Leafs then dispatched him to the Marlies for what they termed a conditioning stint. And on the conditioning stint, his heart condition, with an elevated heart rate, suddenly has emerged as an issue again, just as it did in his first NHL season.

ďI donít know what it is,Ē said Gustavsson. ďIím going to talk to the doctors soon, again, and weíll see what they say. They said it wasnít as bad as last year and I could have gone in to play the third period. But we decided not to do that ... Itís more frustrasting not to be able to keep going.Ē

In Gustavssonís first season in Toronto, he had two different heart proceduces that otherwise hampered a decent rookie season. The second season sure didnít need this kind of interruption.

ďItís not like my heart goes up every every time I have to work,Ē said Gustavsson. ďIt goes up, like normally. As I said, it slowed down kind of quick too ... It wasnít as bad as last year. I could have gone in and played the third period. We decided not to do that.Ē

ď(Mostly) Iíve been doing good. I didnít feel any of this (from) last year. Hopefully, itís going to stay this way.Ē

After Gustavssonís procedures as a rookie, doctors informed him there was a possibility the condition could return. They ďcouldnít guarantee it wonít come back but Iím feeling good. Iím going to talk to the doctors soon and see what they say.Ē

Gustavsson said he felt capable of travelling with the Marlies to the West Coast on their upcoming road trip and Burke confirmed that was this case. He will likely start a few more games for the Marlies before returning to the Leafs, who will have to find some kind of solution to having three goaltenders on their big-league roster with only two spots of consequence. The Leafs are almost certain to try and trade veteran J-S Giguere before the Feb. 28 deadline, but that will be very difficult to do because the amount of money left on Giguereís expiring contract.

With Gustavsson out, prospect Jussi Rynnas played the final two period and allowed both Whale goals in a terribly one-sided game. The best news of the day may have come from the still-developing Christian Hanson, who scored a goal and set up four others in the Toronto win.


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