The Toronto Maple Leafs, Already A Goaltending Controversy?

Kale SherarContributor IOctober 6, 2009

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 1:  Vesa Toskala #35 of the Toronto Maple Leafs watches for a shot in a game against the Montreal Canadiens on October 1, 2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Canadiens dfeated the Leafs 4-3 in overtime. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

     Well, we're a mere two games into the 2009-2010 NHL season, and already, Leafs Nation is calling for Vesa Toskala's head.  The question is, however, can you blame them?

     The answer to that is simply: no, you cannot.  Vesa Toskala has been sub-par is his two-plus years in Toronto, capped off by his worst NHL season last year.  To start this season, he has surrendered seven goals on 35 shots, for an awful .800 SV%.  Normally, this wouldn't be a problem for another goalie or team, but in Toskala's case, it is. 

     He has yet to endear himself to many Leafs fans in his tenure in Toronto, mainly due to lackluster performances, soft goals, and bad practice habits (on which he was called out by Brian Burke last winter).  However, Vesa seemed to imply that this season would be different, possibly his turnaround year.  He had groin and hip surgery during the off-season, and came into camp feeling 100%, giving us Leafs fans a feeling of optimism.  Unfortunately, he has shown no improvements from the past two seasons throughout the pre and regular season thus far.

   In the offseason this past summer, General Manager Brian Burke signed highly-touted free agent Jonas 'The Monster' Gustavsson, in hopes of pushing Vesa Toskala for that starter's job.  During the pre-season, Gustavsson quickly got on the good side of Leafs Nation, when he robbed Detroit's Johan Ryno on a two-on-none breakaway, and remained unbeaten through three periods and 22 shots.  His NHL career got off to a shaky start on Saturday, allowing three goals on 19 shots, but he could hardly be blamed for any.

     Now, the Maple Leafs are in the midst of yet another goalie controversy, and if the incumbent Vesa Toskala doesn't start to show improvement and turn his season, and career, around, his days as the starter, or even a Maple Leaf, may be numbered.  I'm sure that all of Leafs Nation is now wondering: 'When will The Monster finally be unleashed?'