January 17, 2012
Alfie applauds Sundin salute
By DAVE HILSON, QMI Agency
The Maple Leafs are planning to celebrate the achievements of the franchise’s career leading scorer and former captain, Mats Sundin, on Feb. 11 when the Montreal Canadiens come to town. Sundin will have his No. 13 jersey raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre to honour both his performance on the ice and his contributions in the community.
It’s an honour fellow Swede and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson says is well deserved.
“He’s one of the legends now in Swedish hockey and he had an outstanding career both in the NHL and internationally,” Alfredsson said after the Senators’ optional skate on Tuesday morning. “I always enjoyed playing with him (internationally), maybe not as much playing against him. He’s a good friend and a real pro. He came to play every night and did whatever he could to make sure his teammates got better … It’s a deserving honour.”
Sundin played 981 career games for the Leafs, registering 420 goals, 567 assists and 987 points. In 1,346 career NHL games with Toronto, Quebec and Vancouver, Sundin scored 564 goals and 785 assists for 1,349 points.
MARLIE FOR A DAY
Jake Gardiner was as surprised as anyone to be called back to the Leafs after just one game on the farm. The rookie defenceman sat in the press box for four games with Toronto before finally being sent down to participate in a Marlies contest against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Gardiner had been averaging 20-plus minutes before being banished to the press box and then to the AHL.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I got sent down,” Gardiner said Tuesday. “It was weird for just one game. Nobody ever wants to get sent down but I think it was for a good reason; they wanted me to play a game and then get back up here and play.”
Coach Ron Wilson said he knew Gardiner wouldn’t be a farmhand for long.
“We gave him the game with the Marlies so that he wouldn’t be off for two weeks,” Wilson said. “When we sent him down we didn’t tell him he was going for one game, but I knew in my mind that he was playing in (last) night’s game. It was a good little break for him. He’s no different than any college player, he has played as many games so far this year as he probably played (his) last year at university. That’s an adjustment. He probably wore down a little and the break will do him good.”
Gardiner, who played hockey at the University of Wisconsin, picked up an assist in the Marlies’ 2-1 loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday.
REIMER: SYSTEM’S FAIR
With neither James Reimer nor Jonas Gustavsson having cemented the No. 1 spot in net for Toronto, the Leafs have been using a two-goalie system in which whoever is winning gets the start.
While Gustavsson had not played poorly in any of his four consecutive starts heading into Tuesday night’s contest against Ottawa, the Leafs turned to Reimer against the Senators after dropping their previous two outings.
Reimer said he thinks it’s a fair system that both goalies get to play.
“When you have two good goalies, no one wants to sit on the bench for a long time if they are worthy of playing,” Reimer said. “Each guy gets a fair shot and if you take advantage of it, you get rewarded. So I think it’s a great way to go about things. We both like it, so hopefully it works out for the team.”
MORE SHOTS NEEDED
Wilson says his first line has to pump up the volume to score some goals. The volume of shots, that is.
“We’ve been over-passing pucks instead of getting pucks to the net,” Wilson said after the Leafs’ morning skate on Tuesday. “If we pumped up the shot volume a little bit, it’s going to help. I don’t think Lupes (Joffrey Lupul) or Phil (Kessel) had a shot in the last game (against the New York Rangers). That’s what we need.”
Heading into Tuesday night’s contest, neither Kessel nor Lupul had recorded a point since a Jan. 7 win over the Detroit Red Wings.