October 17, 2011
Leafs Locker: Can Reimer give Giguere a lesson?
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
Just how much goaltender James Reimer picked up from playing behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere last season -- and if Jiggy has something new to show the kid -- will be revealed on Monday.
Sentimental ex-Leaf Joe Sacco has elected to give Giguere his second start of the season against Toronto, which decided to stick with Jonas Gustavsson as a back-up instead of the 34-year-old Giguere.
"I somewhat saw it coming," Giguere told the Denver Post on Sunday.
"They had two guys under contract, two young guys that are pretty talented.
"I was hopeful to get another deal somewhere in the league, but they were great to me and there's absolutely no bitterness there. I really enjoyed Toronto. It was a great place to play, and my family really liked the city. The people were very respectful, and are such big Leafs fans."
Giguere's two-year record of 17-18-6 was partially due to groin injury issues. They also played a role in Toronto going with Gustavsson, despite The Monster's own medical problems.
Giguere, who signed for $1.25 million US in Denver this season, is 1-0 so far behind Semyon Varlamov.
Tyler standing taller
Tyler Bozak is a plus five so far and not just because he's riding the coat-tails of winger Phil Kessel's early goal rush. Bozak is winning draws and using his extra muscle from this summer's workouts to play better defence.
Bozak's team-worst minus 29 last season prompted the Leafs to chase Tim Connolly in free agency, before the ex-Sabre's training-camp injury sent Bozak back to the middle between Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. The trio has combined for 16 points in three games.
"I've never been a minus player my whole career, so (that awful number) was really hard on me to deal with," Bozak said. "I obviously have got a lot of confidence back. I've always known that defence turns to offence. A lot of coaches I've been with considered me a good defensive player. But my confidence was down a lot last year and I tended to cheat a lot, expecting loose pucks or pucks to bounce over guys' sticks.
"It's only three games in, so we have a lot of work to do still."
Marlies roll on
Winger Joey Crabb scored twice, defenceman Jeff Finger and forward Jerry D'Amigo added one each and Jussi Rynnas made 21 saves as the AHL Marlies completed a weekend home sweep of the Lake Erie Monsters on Sunday. Wilson and Leafs general manager Brian Burke were in attendance. D'Amigo and Will Acton accounted for four shots on goal each among the Marlies' 27 in total. The Marlies (2-1) next play Rochester at Ricoh Coliseum.
Bozak on eventually losing his first-line centre role to Connolly: "I'm just trying to fill his spot as best I can. If he comes back and takes it, fine, he's a great player" ... The Leafs put in an hour's work at the MasterCard Centre on Sunday, scaling back on the length of practice times as they entered a phase of six games in 10 days. Missing were Connolly with his suspected shoulder injury, Saturday scratch Colton Orr with a family matter, and winger Mike Brown, getting what Wilson termed a maintenance day.