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Virk Weighs In On Gustavsson, Gunnarsson

by Adnan Virk / Toronto Maple Leafs
MAPLE LEAFS


To quote one of my favourite plays, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, in reference to Willy Loman, the play’s lead character battered by guilt and self-delusion, “Attention… attention must finally be paid to such a person.” I think the Maple Leafs are taking the proper steps with regards to their promising rookie goaltender Jonas Gustavsson. Head coach Ron Wilson made the right move pulling Jonas at the first sign of an accelerated heartbeat in Montreal and now the club has announced that the keeper will undergo a repeat heart ablation procedure on Friday. The first procedure took place on September 15th during training camp. This further gives proof that there’s no such thing as a minor heart problem and the team and player involved are taking the correct steps in ensuring long-term health and viability which far outweigh a hockey career. On another disappointing tip, defenceman Carl Gunnarsson sustained a hyper-extended left elbow in Monday’s game against Buffalo. He is expected to be out of the lineup for about 6 weeks. Let’s hope he can regain the potential he’s shown when he returns.

RAPTORS

Seven wins at the unofficial quarter mark of the season, 20 games of an 82-game season, is not bringing a lot of holiday cheer to the Raptors or their fan base. And last night’s loss to the Hawks has to constitute the low point of the season thus far. 146 points ties the most points allowed in the NBA this season and the raptors far too often offered little resistance and instead, complete capitulation at the defensive end. The team has now lost five straight and are 2-9 away from the ACC this season. Having said that, I was pleased to see the Raptors and their coaching staff man up and at least admit the futility is unacceptable. Jay Triano was succinct in summing up the club’s 13th loss: “We were simply outclassed. They simply destroyed us.” And Chris Bosh echoed the sentiments: “defensive effort hasn't been there for a while. ... I mean, tonight was just a total embarrassment.” The Raptors are second-last in points allowed per game this year at 109 and without a vast improvement in this area, they can’t offer up much optimism. Yes, they remain a potent offensive club. Yes, they have nine new faces to be acclimated. Yes, they miss the toughness, rebounding and leadership of Reggie Evans, but too much can’t be expected of him. And the sky isn’t falling with the team just a game-and-a half out the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. But a year after Sam Mitchell was turfed, the Raptors need to bring some accountability to the table on Friday night in Washington.

OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND
  • I’m halfway through Soccernomics a fabulous book from Simon Kuper who I’ll be interviewing on Friday which will air on Football Today on Tuesday at 6pm on GOL TV Canada. The sub-heading to the book reads, “why England loses, why Germany and Brazil win, and why the US, Japan, Australia, Turkey - and even Iraq - are destined to become the kings of the world’s most popular sport.” Need I say more?
  • Went and saw Precious and I can say it’s time to believe the hype. Unflinching, uncompromising and altogether brilliant. Precious is an obese 16-year-old, pregnant with her second child after being raped by her father and deals with an abusive mother (the ferociously compelling Mo’Nique) in this tour de force from Lee Daniels (who co-wrote the terrific Monster’s Ball.
  • Gabourey Sidibe is a revelation as Precious and her performance stands out even more now that I’ve seen her on talk shows where she’s giddy and bubbly unlike her lugubrious creation on the screen. Some scenes are grueling to take but Oscar voters will be showering this one with nominations galore a month from now so see it now and beat the rush.
  • Kanye West not getting much love from the Grammy nominations for his album 808s and Heartbreak. Can you say revenge of Taylor Swift? I like Beyonce to win Album Of The Year over Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and can you believe it, The Dave Matthews Band???
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