“Gustavsson” Scores a Goal on Sportsnet: Thanks, Joe Bowen
Sometimes in professional sports, in the latter portion of a lost season, one can get the impression that folks are just mailing it in. Akin to garbage time in a game too far out of hand to salvage, the idea is that a team can be so far out of contention for a championship or qualification for the playoffs that those associated with the team have ceased to care about results in the remaining games.
Typically, fans are concerned that their professional heroes have given up and are going through the motions; team management typically attempts to assuage these fears by stressing that players are auditioning for jobs for the next season. They commonly also offer hope that the team is using the remaining games as a developmental exercise – setting specific goals and trying to learn how to win by achieving those goals, regardless of their ultimate factual irrelevance.
Happily for Toronto Maple Leafs fans, it would seem that the Leaf players are buying in to this narrative for the most part. The Blue and White put in a mostly spirited effort against a depleted Bruins club that has given them fits this year, eventually prevailing in overtime on a goal by Nikolai Kulemin.
So no worries about anybody going through the motions in Leaf-land, right? At least for one night?
Well, not quite. The television broadcast crew that brought us the game on Sportsnet last night had some real difficulties. In particular, Joe Bowen and Greg Millen seemed to be having an inordinate amount of difficulty keeping Jonas Gustavsson and Carl Gunnarsson straight. It’s true that both men are Swedish and both are relatively new additions to the Leaf team whose last names begin with the letter “G”. Really, though, is it too much to ask that the crew whose job it is to know about these players could, by the time game number 66 rolls around, reliably distinguish between the team’s much-hyped young goaltender and a defenseman who has pleasantly surprised? Nevertheless, throughout Tuesday night’s game, Bowen and Millen continuously tripped over the Gustavsson/Gunnarsson identification.
This unfortunate difficulty manifested itself most notably late in the second period with the Bruins leading 2-1. Following a faceoff in the Bruins’ zone, Carl Gunnarsson directed a shot at the Bruins’ goal that found the twine, tying the game at twos. Regrettably, Joe Bowen attributed this goal to Jonas Gustavsson – the Leafs’ goaltender. Check out the clip (from YouTube) below:
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