Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer Starts Against the Colorado Avalanche


Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer Starts Against the Colorado Avalanche

Sep 26, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie

James Reimer

(34) takes a drink during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Leafs beat the Sabres 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

It was expected that James Reimer would get the start in goal versus the Colorado Avalanche after he helped the Leas earn their first win against the New York Rangers 6-3. Fellow Tip of the Tower author William Wilson touched on this topic in his Game Day Questions, and it has now been confirmed from various sources at practice.

Oct 11, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Pittsburgh Penguins center

Sidney Crosby

(87) falls into the net as he is upended as Toronto Maple Leafs goalie

Jonathan Bernier

(45) guards the net at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

As a big Reimer fan I have to avoid getting too exciting with him starting tonight for a couple of reasons. The Leafs dominated the second period against the New York Rangers while Reimer was given a chance to settle into the game. Jonathan Bernier was not afforded that opportunity against the Pittsburgh Penguins. However unlike Reimer, Bernier could not make the saves that would give the Leafs a chance to get ahead in the game. In both games against the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins the first goals scored on Bernier should have been saved, Reiemr was able to make those key saves against the New York Rangers and that turned out to be what the Leafs needed.

Sep 26, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer (34) makes a pad save on Buffalo Sabres right wing

Brian Gionta

(12) during the first period at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The other reason why I am not getting too excited about this start is because of the roller coaster ride James Reimer has been through in his career as a Toronto Maple Leafs. He has never been afforded the opportunity to be the bonafide number one goalie in Toronto. When it appeared that he was going to named the number one goalie there were rumours about bringing in Roberto Luongo and Miikka Kiprusoff because there was a lack in confidence in James Reimer’s abilities and lack of experience. Then as Jonathan Bernier was given the number one job last season the Leafs tried to deal James Reimer but could not find a team that was going to give the Leafs the value that they were looking for.

Nick Kypreos alluded to this on Hockey Central at Noon today

Guess what Toronto, James Reimer is still here and he continues to battle even though this team and the rest of the NHL do not have the confidence to play him as a true number one goaltender. However James Mirtle made a key point about starting Reimer tonight.

Why is this statement important? When the Leafs needed James Reimer to come in and save their season when Bernier went down last season was unable to get the job done because he did not have the team’s confidence, or the confidence in himself after being relegated to the bench.

It will be important for Reimer to play well in order for Bernier to be pressured to play better because he will lose starts if he does not. If James Reimer does win the game tonight then he will probably get the second game in the Leafs back-to-back games against the Detroit Red Wings with Bernier playing Friday depending on how Bernier plays.

May 13, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer (34) lies in the goal crease after being defeated by the Boston Bruins in OT in game seven of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

One last note on Reimer, it is unfair to say that he is not capable of being a starter in the NHL. Had it not been for James Reimer, the Leafs would not have made it to the playoffs or Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. Yes I understand that he was a part of the Game 7 collapse but it was a team collapse. Look at the shots on goal in each game, how can you discredit his performance in the series;

Game 1 he allowed 4 goals on 40 shots

Game 2 he allowed 2 goals on 42 shots

Game 3 he allowed 4 goals on 32 shots

Game 4 he allowed 4 goals on 45 shots

Game 5 he allowed 1 goals on 44 shots

Game 6 he allowed 1 goal on 30 shots

Game 7 he allowed 5 goals on 35 shots

Here is the stats line from that playoffs series.

Dec 27, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer congratulates goalie Jonathan Bernier (45) after defeating the Buffalo Sabres at Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs beat the Sabres 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

I just found it ironic that the Leafs had other areas of the team that needed to be addressed after they were eliminated from the playoffs. Instead of trying to fix their visible issues at center and defence they traded for another goalie that was never a starter. Bernier is a good goalie don’t get me wrong, I just cannot understand how the Leafs can continue to ignore the clear issues with this team. If the Pittsburgh game taught us anything it’s that the Leafs are still a number one center and number defencemen away from being a legitimate Stanley Cup Champion. They should have left the goaltending situation alone and fix the real issues with this team.