Jonas Gustavsson‘s objective for the 2013-2014 season is real simple: do the exact opposite of what you did last year.
Let me cut you off before you start with the injury excuses because I’m well aware that Jonas hurt his man muscle in 2013 and that forced him to miss a bunch of time.
Even still, when he returned to the net his play made Ty Conklin look like a young Ken Dryden. Forget starting him between the pipes last year, Gus is lucky Babcock trusted him with a clipboard and pen.
Since joining the Wings last season, stopping pucks with frequent regularity has proved a difficult task for the former Maple Leaf tender.
This season the goalie that people often refer to as ‘The Monster’ needs to start playing a little more like the giant Swedish ogre that he is. At 6 foot 3 Gustavsson shouldn’t have any trouble with cutting down angles and making the goal look small behind him.
If he’s not sure how it’s done I suggest he throw in a tape of the lanky Pekka Rinne tending goal for the Predators to see how a big goalie needs to play in this league.
It might seem like I’m being too hard on the guy and maybe I am? But, it’s not all doom and gloom because the good news for Gustavsson is two-fold:
- He doesn’t have to be Ken Dryden. Tolerable might be the operative word for the kind of play Detroit is hoping to get out of Jonas. The Wings could live with tolerable if it means actually getting a chance to rest starter Jimmy Howard every so often.
- The only direction is up from here.
So, in the holy name of Jim Bedard I command you Jonas Gustavsson to get back in your net, and be the best backup goaltender the world has ever seen…be the kind of backup goaltender you were born to be.