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Gustavsson AHL bound; Reimer to start Saturday Add to ...

The Toronto Maple Leafs' three goalie "problem" has been solved.

At least temporarily.

As expected, Jonas Gustavsson has been sent to the Toronto Marlies on a two week conditioning stint, meaning he'll get into as many as six or seven games over the next 14 days at the AHL level to try and regain his confidence.

That leaves veteran J-S Giguere and rookie James Reimer as the team's tandem for the next seven or eight games, a stretch where coach Ron Wilson will likely play whoever appears to be hot.

That, right now, is obviously Reimer, who said today after practice he will get the start against the Sabres in Buffalo tomorrow.

"You get a shutout, you deserve to play the next game," Wilson said.

Giguere talked at length about the situation today, too, and he said he believes Gustavsson has handled the situation well and that he'll benefit from some time in the minors. He said being mentally prepared is as important as anything when you play goal in the NHL and that having a poor stretch can take any young goaltender off his game.

"Lord knows I've been there before," Giguere said. "This league will eat you alive."

Leafs GM Brian Burke said today the team didn't require approval from the league to send Gustavsson on the conditioning stint, only that the player agreed to go. There was some confusion on that point given the stint allows the Leafs to send him down without waivers, but my guess is because it's only a temporary arrangement, it's not a concern for the league.

This is likely a one-time thing, however, as the commissioner's office may take notice if it happens again. Burke has a little more than three weeks before the trade deadline to potentially move out Giguere in a deal.

I will have more on Reimer later today, but below is a couple other items and audio from Ron Wilson today.

Notebook

- Leafs centre Darryl Boyce suffered a gruesome facial injury, mainly to his nose, when he hit the photographer's hole in the glass in last night's game and didn't practice. Boyce is on Twitter and offered a look at the damage, but it's really not for the faint of heart. (Don't say I didn't warn you.) Wilson said at practice that Boyce probably wouldn't play in Buffalo, although he indicated to me on Twitter he hopes to be back in the lineup. "He's got some severe facial cuts," Wilson said. "But we're expecting him possibly to play on Monday [against Atlanta]."

- Wilson on Gustavsson going down: "It's to get him playing some games. It's not conditioning. It's what you call it, but the next 14 days they play seven games. We're hoping that he can get in the majority of them and find his confidence again. He wants to play. With three goalies, only one's going to play, and he's got two other guys ahead of him right now playing better. Easiest way for him to gain his confidence is to play some games in the American League and the schedule suits it. And that's why we waited to this point."

- Leafs centre John Mitchell appears ready to play after sitting out since early January with a knee injury.

 

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