What Is The Catalyst For Vesa Toskala's Good Play?

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst IFebruary 26, 2009

Throughout the season, for the most part, Vesa Toskala has been playing very poorly.


His playing style has shown lack of both passion and consistency, and his stats for a starting goaltender are one of the worst in the NHL.


Some of this might be contributed by the lack of solid defensive play coming from his team, but even Evgeni Nabakov and Tim Thomas are forced to come up with the big save now and then.


So, what is it?


Whatever it was; the bad defensive play, the lack of passion or the lack of competition, he has found his game.


In the past four games, Vesa Toskala is 3-0-1 with a 1.75 GAA and a .949 SPCT.


From what I have seen, he has had a lot more confidence, being more positionally sound in the net, he is willing to give that extra effort to make the save, and has looked like he has the passion to play the game of hockey again.


 It has been great to finally see Vesa Toskala playing like he did all of last season.


Now, the real question is why has he been playing so good lately?


It hasn’t been the play of the Leafs defense, who has allowed 110 shots in the last three games.


There hasn’t been any new competition really for the starting position. Justin Pogge and Curtis Joseph have been average all season.


Maybe his injuries have healed because his groin has been a huge factor in his play all season.


I will admit that injuries can play with confidence.


Not being able to play like you used to does bring your game down.


Plus, the fact that you are not dealing with any discomfort when you go down in the butterfly is a huge factor with both quickness and positioning, but something tells me there is more.


Not too long ago, Brian Burke stated that Vesa Toskala needs to start playing like starting goaltender, he is being paid to play like one and has had every opportunity to have a starting job in the NHL.


If he doesn’t start playing well soon, then I will bring in a goaltender to contend for the job.


My guess is that Vesa Toskala finally realized the position he is in. He realized that you only get so many chances in the NHL before changes are made and people move on.


In having this epiphany, he started to work harder knowing that he playing for a job.


Brian Burke will not sit tight and let things work themselves out. If he feels that things are not working, he isn’t scared to make a move to improve the team.


In saying that, Vesa Toskala knows that in order for him to stick as a starting goaltender in the NHL, he has to play like one. People remember the past for only, so long before they start to remember the present.


Whether or not he does stick with the team, his recent play does warrant him a second chance. He has shown the ability to play very well in very close games as of late.


Let’s just hope he can keep this up, for both his, and the Toronto Maple Leafs sake.