In case you missed it, Mirtle is now covering the Leafs for the Globe And Mail in addition to his blogging duties. So it's helpful to have him close to Toronto for updates as they head to Vancouver (apparently right now).
As such, here's the latest update about Saturday's opponent:
Gustavsson was the centre of attention yet again at Leafs practice on Thursday, as the rookie continues to recover from a minor groin injury that has kept him out of all but 97 minutes of action this season. With Toronto's other goaltenders – Vesa Toskala and Joey MacDonald – struggling through the early portion of the season, the inexperienced youngster's return to a full-blown practice Thursday is the No. 1 story line heading into Saturday's road game against the Vancouver Canucks.
Head coach Ron Wilson said earlier in the day that there was a chance Gustavsson could play against the Canucks as his team, 0-6-1, continues to search for its first win of the season. If he is unable to go, third-stringer MacDonald will get his third consecutive start.
So the Canucks will be aiming at the monster or MacDonald. At least the alliteration will be easy. Stats for the two netminders so far:
While it's tempting to mock the Leafs record (and please do), we should know better than most just how dangerous a team on a skid can be. Don't think a truculent winless team is an easy two points. As Minnesota showed, those easy two point games don't exist right now. Just as with Chicago, Vancouver had better come prepared for a physical game where composure will be key for both sides (they're averaging 16.4 PIMs a game and Vancouver is averaging 13.7).
More on the Leafs/Canucks tilt in a bit. For now, enjoy the cupcake.