Jonas Gustavsson addressed the media today and sounds very confident that this second surgery will be the last one affecting his heart. He expects to be out 5-10 days so at the best case scenario could return this weekend with the Leafs in the midst of a busy schedule and a home-heavy diet (which judging by the numbers isn’t a good thing).
The Monster also said his family back home in Sweden isn’t concerned since they know the injury isn’t life-threatening and the stats suggest that he’ll be fine and won’t suffer any relapses or need additional tinkering with his ticker.
So that means Vesa Toskala will try to run things in net after that debacle in Beantown.
Head coach Ron Wilson did say today that the team needs to vastly improve on home ice for this team to make any sort of movement towards a playoff run. He said the same situation affected the club last year in that the team plays well on Hockey Night in Canada but suffers a dip in performance for midweek or early week home games. Either way, a change has to come in that department or the boo birds will gain traction.
I also had a chance to interview Nik Antropov today. His deadpan sense of humour is still razor sharp. In a light interview, he told me he hasn’t read a book in 15 years, enjoys a good comedy in his downtime like Borat, is a terrible cook beyond hot dogs, and is an avid fisherman. In fact, he once caught 40 fish in one day, mostly bass, and didn’t want to pass on any advice to me since I look like I’d be a terrible fisherman!
The numbers in this case do not lie. Over the last two games the Raptors have cut their points in the paint from 56 to 26, lowered the opponent field goal percentage to under 40, 3 point field goal percentage to under 30 and have allowed an average of 92.5 points. Granted that’s a small sample size - a gritty overtime victory against the Wizards, and a commanding victory against an offensively-challenged Bulls squad. But still, after clearing the air in a players-only meeting after that 146 point debacle against the Hawks, it appears that the Raptors are on the right track.
Now they’ve got to do a better job of protecting their home court with the lowly Timberwolves in town. I saw Hedo Turkoglu and DeMar DeRozan unveil the Huskies uniform they’ll be wearing tomorrow night as part of the NBA’s Hardwood Classics Night and a celebration of T.O. basketball and they look slick - especially if you’re a Duke Blue Devils fan.
On the injury front, Chris Bosh is battling a bad cold and left practice halfway through but should play Tuesday night while Andrea Bargnani has a sore right ankle and will try to give it a go. Minnesota isn’t a very good team, aside from Jefferson and some potential in Flynn, but do have Kevin Love back in the lineup who’s not a stats guy but can contribute. Hopefully this time, Jarrett Jack can keep his shoelaces tied. There hasn’t been this much consternation about laces since Ace Ventura (laces out!).
OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND
-Saw Everybody’s Fine for my guy Bob DeNiro over the weekend. It’s easily one of DeNiro’s strongest performances in years and for an actor known for redefining tough guy roles with his brilliant partner in crime Martin Scorsese, it’s a credit to the actor’s skill that he gives such a subtle, measured and affectionate performance as a dad desperately trying to reconnect with his kids after a lifetime of neglect. Although the final ten minutes are treacly and more sentimental than a Hallmark Hall of Fame Movie presentation, I recommend it for those who are need of a family film and some strong performances.
-Speaking of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Meredith Baxter is gay - and to quote Seinfeld, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But now I know why Elyse wasn’t nearly cuddly enough with Steven Gross when I watch Family Ties reruns.
-Happiest guy about Tiger’s transgressions. My guy David Letterman - the heat’s off for him and Governor Mark Sanford.
-From the predictability department, Leno’s revamped show at ten is a ratings killer. Historically bad. I know he thinks he’ll come back on his Harley when other shows are in reruns but what was the point of leaving The Tonight Show only to do the exact same show against vastly tougher competition? Oh right, NBC wanted to save money. Sorry, forgot.