July 5, 2011
Gustavsson hopes for Monster comeback
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - If Jonas Gustavsson had dropped by the MasterCard Centre last July, he would have had the media chasing him.
This year, the Monster just had a pack of young kids trailing after him for an autograph, his hopes at being the Leafs’ No. 1 usurped for now by James Reimer. But with confidence buoyed by a public vote of support from Brian Burke and the departure of free agent Jean-Sebastien Giguere, the Monster is motivated.
“First of all, I’m happy for Giguere. I was friends with him for two years and I’m happy that everything worked out for him,” said Gustavsson, well-tanned from a vacation in Spain. “For me, I’m happy they believe in me and I’m going to show them they made the right choice.”
Gustavsson only went home to Sweden briefly, spending most of the three-month hiatus at the MCC working out with Leaf teammates. He echoed general manager Burke’s comments that his irregular heartbeat, which required a couple of ablation surgeries and his groin muscle problems are behind him. When 100%, Gustavsson won seven straight games for Toronto at the end of 2009-10. But with the injuries hindering him and a major flaw in his game with tracking rebounds and plays behind the net, he found himself shunted to No. 3 in the rotation.
The meteoric rise of Reimer and his new three-year contract created a new pecking order, but Gustavsson will continue to work with specialist Francois Allaire.
“I’m looking forward to the season and a better start so hopefully, we don’t have to fight all the way back again. It’s up to me and everyone else to be in good shape for that, which is what the summer is for.”
It was suggested that being out of the camp spotlight for the first time in three years will be beneficial in September.
“Maybe and maybe not,” Gustavsson said. “I am not focused on what goes on in the media, just on what happens to me on the ice. James had a really good year, but I’m up for that (camp challenge). I would like to push myself and push him. Together, it could be a really good result for us.”