January 31, 2012
Monster making his points
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
Maple Leafs goaltender Jonas Gustavsson, who began Tuesday’s game on the verge of winning a career-best 17th game, says he has not changed his mental outlook for any of his assignments this season.
“Right from the start of the year, I really try to see every game as the one that could be the difference in a playoff spot,” Gustavsson said after the morning skate. “It’s really tight in the standings. Every point will be huge. I see every game as another game.”
Gustavsson entered Tuesday a couple of wins behind Wayne Thomas and Grant Fuhr, who are tied for 20th in team history with 38 victories apiece.
JAMES FEELING GYM DANDY
James Reimer spent the all-star break in Maple Ridge, B.C., in the gym with personal trainer Adam Francilia.
It was for mental as well as physical well-being for the goalie, who felt he lost some of the core strength he carefully built up during the summer. Reimer missed a month with concussion symptoms after a fast start and then has been sitting a lot with Gustavsson playing so well.
Reimer’s flight home was delayed five hours, so he ended up watching the entire NHL all-star game in the airport in Vancouver.
MALKIN MAKES MARK
As a Plan B goes, Evgeni Malkin is a pretty good one.
With Sidney Crosby shelved for most of the past calendar year, Malkin has stepped up, on and off the ice for the Penguins. He led the NHL in points before last night, accumulated in part during Pittsburgh’s seven-game winning streak.
“He’s certainly leading us with the way he’s playing,” coach Dan Bylsma said Tuesday morning. “He seems to have an energy resource that I sometimes don’t know where he gets, with all the minutes he (plays). He’s coming up big in key times in third periods.
“Part of it has been (his teammates). But there are times when the leadership in the practices and in the dressing room has been a really big factor. You get a natural hat trick in Tampa Bay (Jan. 15) and that’s leading in itself. But one was a forechecking goal, one was stripping the puck and the game-winning goal was forechecking. Not one was a dangle.”
MOVE OVER, IRON MIKE
Ron Wilson officially took fifth place in NHL games coached on Tuesday with No. 1,387, passing Mike Keenan. You know the next milestone will mean a lot more, when he gets No. 1,400 to tie mentor Pat Quinn, whom he worked under in Vancouver.
In a nice gesture, the Penguins announced the milestone on their scoreboard and Wilson got a nice hand from the Consol Energy Center crowd.
RAZING THE ROOF
Removal of the roof of the old Civic Arena next to the Consol Energy Center began this week during demolition of the site. The ‘Igloo’ was built for the expansion Penguins in 1967 and the lid was supposed to be retractable, but rarely opened. It was popped during a symphony performance many years ago, but a gust of wind scattered the musicians’ sheets. After a long battle on whether to preserve the building years ago, the site is being redeveloped.