Jonas Gustavsson is ready for the 2013-14 season and is proving it during Training Camp.
After a season of injuries and doubts about his abilities, Gustavsson is starting to look like the goaltender who received the nickname “The Monster” in Sweden.
Training Camp is the first time we have seen Gustavsson play since March 31st, a game in which he let in 3 goals on 12 shots, but what I have seen from him over the past couple of days puts all of my worries to bed.
In Toronto, they tried to turn The Monster into a reactive goalie, but it never worked out for him. In Detroit, they are letting him dictate where the player is able to shoot the puck and it is working out very well.
During drills he was smooth moving from one post to the other, which means that the groin issue he had last year is no longer affecting him and he is aggressive in the crease.
Gustavsson uses his stick more to break up passes and poke-checks, without putting himself out of position.
During the scrimmages, Gustavsson went two 30 minute periods without letting up a goal. He out dueled Jimmy Howard in net and helped lead Team Delvecchio to a win in the first scrimmage of Training Camp.
You may say that it is only Training Camp and it is not a real game, but Gustavsson knows what happened last season and he is doing his best to make sure the performances he turned in last season do not happen again this season.
The better Gustavsson plays and the more he challenges Howard to play better, the better it is for the team.
A lot of the credit for The Monster’s 180 goes to Jim Bedard and Chris Osgood, who did a fantastic job at returning Jonas Gustavsson to his original goaltending style and it looks like it will pay off soon for the team. If Gustavsson can give Howard enough breaks to keep him under 60 games next season than Howard will be more prepared and rested for the grind of post-season hockey.
Let’s Go Monster and Let’s Go Detroit Red Wings!