Gustavsson resumes workouts after undergoing procedure Staff

9/18/2009 10:28:16 PM

It wasn't exactly the start Jonas Gustavsson had envisioned when he signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs in July.

After undergoing a minor heart procedure earlier in the week, the Swedish goaltender rejoined his new team on Friday, but was limited to the stationed bike.

"It was the first time I came to the arena today. I've just been on the bike for five minutes, otherwise I've been at home resting, sleeping and taking it easy," explained the 24-year-old.

Following the Leafs' fitness tests, which took place last Saturday, Gustavsson experienced a racing heartbeat. Initially, the team believed it was a simple case of dehydration. He took to the ice Monday, but doctors diagnosed his condition and decided to deal with it as soon as possible.

"Of course you get a little bit scared, but the doctors told me right away that there's no danger," Gustavsson expressed. "We just have to look at everything and see what's happened. When they looked at me the day after, they said that there was this problem and we can fix it easy."

The procedure doctors performed on the young goaltender, known as a cardiac ablation, involved an incision in the groin area, where catheters were inserted and run up to the heart. The goal is to destroy the tissue around the area of the heart which was experiencing the blockage that was causing Gustavsson's condition.

"He's feeling much better," said head coach Ron Wilson. "He rode the bike, and within the next day or two he'll probably be back on the ice."

"Any time you have any kind of surgery, especially involving your heart, there must be some risk. But the doctors claim it must be a real easy surgery from their point of view," added Wilson.

Gustavsson isn't the only Leafs player who has had to deal with this issue. Left winger Robert Slaney underwent the same procedure three weeks ago.

"Over the past few years, hit and miss every now and then I would get a high heart rate," said the Leafs prospect who is back on the ice trying to earn a spot with the club. "I came in here, told the Leafs doctors about it and they looked after it pretty fast."

It took Slaney three days to resume normal activities, and Gustavsson seems on pace to do the same.

"Of course it would be better for me to be on the ice, but now I have to just rest and be 100 percent when I go on the ice and work hard, even harder maybe," said the netminder, optimiscally.

Nicknamed "The Monster," Gustavsson was labeled the best goaltender outside of the NHL last season. The 6'3", 181-pound backstop was the top goalie in the Swedish Elite League last season while playing for Farjestad. He posted a 1.96 goals against average and a save percentage of .932 in the regular season, and led the team to the league championship this spring.

He signed a one-year deal with the Leafs worth $810,000, including a signing bonus of $90,000, to back up current starter Vesa Toskala.