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Virk Looks At The Monster & Toskala

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs
LEAFS


So Jonas Gustavsson is getting the start tonight.  Say hello to the monster mash!

Head coach Ron Wilson made it clear today in his morning address to the media that he has no clear cut plans with regards to his goaltending. He’ll be evaluating who starts in net on an individual game-by-game basis. Jonas, he feels, played well in the preseason and looked good the other night against the Capitals and deserves the chance to see what he can prove tonight.

Wilson also said he feels sorry for Toskala because there’s such scrutiny around him and the Maple Leafs collective defensive effort was poor and therefore Toskala shouldn’t be blamed entirely for the team’s performance in the first two games.

As for Toskala, in his estimation, he’s only given up one bad goal so far (the first one to the Capitals) and still feels that he deserves to be the club’s number one starter but obviously that decision is out of his hands.

Gustavsson is eager to face the Sens and Daniel Alfredsson who’s revered back home in Sweden. Jonas said he hasn’t been accosted on the streets in Toronto yet and was braced for the media throng ahead of time.

He did say the most surprising fan reaction he got was in Frankfurt where some leafs fans came up to him to wish him well. Clearly Leafs Nation is a global enterprise!

RAPTORS


No Chris Bosh, Hedo Turkoglu or Antoine Wright tonight in London as the new-look Raptors hit the court in an ‘away’ game versus the 76ers.

The most intriguing storyline for me is the first taste of rookie DeMar DeRozan in NBA action. Dero (with apologies to TFC’s sublime star Dwayne DeRosario on sharing the nickname) brings some much-needed athleticism to the Raptors roster and in the estimation of my colleague Sherman Hamilton, has shades of Andre Igoudala in his game.

Jay Triano is particularly pleased with DeRozan’s healthy attention to the defensive side of the ball which has been worrisome for the Raptors in years past. Catch Matt and Sherm with the call tonight on Raptors NBA TV.

TFC

The New England Revolution had two games in hand on TFC and yet were only able to pick up one point. So now TFC and the Revolution are on even ground in terms of games played with the Reds three points back.

New England has the tougher schedule in facing Columbus and Chicago so if TFC takes care of business beginning with this Saturday’s home match against San Jose, they’ve got a realistic shot at the postseason dance.

The final 15 minutes have been a problem for Toronto and coach Chris Cummins broke down the team’s performance inside the locker room so the players are acutely aware that no late game lapses will be tolerated. The players are positively giddy over the excellent prospect of playing on a grass pitch next year at BMO.

OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND


- Ken Burns massive documentary National Parks: America’s Best Idea was at times exhilarating and exhausting but showcased the documentarian’s classic touch. I’ve got a yearning to see Yosemite the next time I visit California.

- T-Pain turned 25 last week. 25??? That’ s insane. I would’ve pegged that dude to be 42.

- Outstanding cover story from Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci on the Yankees incomparable closer Mariano Rivera. With one unhittable pitch, that scathing cutter, Mo has become the greatest closer in the history of the game. Interviewing Rivera at the closing of Yankee Stadium last year is one of the biggest thrills of my broadcasting career.

- Lastly Flavor Flav is going back to high school for a reality show. Somewhere Chuck D is hoping that Terminator X could just terminate Flav’s ridiculous television pursuits. This should be a significant upgrade over your favourite Saved By The Bell or Degrassi episode.
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