TORONTO – The Monster is looking forward to making a quick return to the Toronto Maple Leafs net.
Jonas Gustavsson underwent a second heart ablation procedure on Friday and was back with his teammates at Air Canada Centre on Monday morning. The Swedish rookie wasn’t able to skate with the team, but is hoping to be ready for a return in the next week or so.
“It will be a couple days,” said Gustavsson. “I feel good now. It feels like I have more power after this procedure than after the last one.
“I’m hopeful to be back as soon as possible.”
Gustavsson was first diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm at the start of training camp in September. That’s when he underwent his first ablation procedure.
The problem resurfaced last Wednesday in Montreal, when the Leafs goalie felt his heart racing during the first period. Even though he didn’t allow a goal in the opening 20 minutes, he was doubled-over as he skated towards the dressing room at the intermission.
When he informed Leafs doctors of the issue, they called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital as a precaution.
“It felt like I’d been working out for 30 minutes the whole time without rest, so I was pretty tired,” said Gustavsson. “That was the worst thing. I had to really fight to get some energy and even during the breaks I couldn’t get my energy back.”
Leafs coach Ron Wilson noted that the goalie seemed more comfortable after going through the ablation procedure for a second time. It involves making a small incision near his groin – something that must fully heal before he can play again.
In the meantime, Gustavsson will spend time working out on a stationary bike and continue to watch as Joey MacDonald and Vesa Toskala split the goaltending duties.
The 25-year-old has experienced quite a few ups and downs during his first couple months in the NHL.
“It’s not what you want,” said Gustavsson. “You don’t want to have those breaks all the time. You just want to be out there, keep working hard, and try to be a better goalie. But now I’ve had those breaks, I have to start over a little bit.
“Of course, that’s a little bit frustrating. But that’s the way it is, you have to make the best of it.”
Gustavsson has been the most consistent of the three Toronto goaltenders. He’s 6-5-5 with a 3.14 goals-against average and .900 save percentage.
Even though there is no guarantee that the heart problem won’t resurface again down the line, Gustavsson isn’t concerned about it.
“The doctors were pretty happy with the result,” he said. “They said they can’t guarantee anything, but they think it should be gone now. I can’t think about if it will happen again.
“It should be alright now. I have to trust them.”