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Leafs' Gustavsson has minor heart procedure

The Canadian Press

9/15/2009 3:24:54 PM

TORONTO -- Jonas Gustavsson's bid to land a goaltending job with the Toronto Maple Leafs has been stalled by a heart problem coach Ron Wilson describes as a minor concern.

Gustavsson experienced a racing heartbeat following fitness tests Saturday, took part in on-ice sessions Monday and, when he didn't appear at the NHL club's practice facility Tuesday, Wilson was asked about the Swede's absence.

Doctors have performed an ablation, which requires an incision in the groin area, said Wilson.

"They go in and touch a part of his heart that was misfiring," said Wilson. "It's a simple procedure that's actually fairly common with athletes.

"Our doctor said he'll do 10 NHL players in a summer if they're ever shown this (problem). It's not a difficult procedure. We don't expect him to miss more than 48 hours. You don't want him to put his gear on until he's comfortable and there's no risk of infection (at the site of the incision)."

Gustavsson is battling for the backup position behind incument Vesa Toskala. He had a 1.96 goals-against average with Farjestads of the Swedish Elite League last season and was a much-ballyhooed signing by the Leafs earlier this summer.

"He's 24 and this has never popped up before," Wilson said of the racing heartbeat.

Gustavsson was "the most powerful guy we had" in some of the fitness tests before the problem arose Saturday, said Wilson.

Joey MacDonald of Pictou, N.S., who appeared in 49 NHL games for the New York Islanders last season, is also vying for the job of backing up Toskala.