January 10, 2011
Leafs' Reimer makes most of NHL experience
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
Before the game against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke was not sounding like a reprieve from the AHL for goalie James Reimer was going to happen.
“Our plan is to return James to the Marlies as soon as Jean-Sebastien Giguere is 100% good to go,” Burke said via e-mail.
Reimer had his second straight start and fourth in the club’s past five games on Monday, though the shadow of Giguere and Jonas Gustavsson is looming.
“Jiggy’s got the kind of (groin) injury that’s made him day-to-day almost three weeks,” the rookie Reimer said. “Now he is really close to coming back, so it makes what I do even more important. The coaching staff feels they can trust me with another game, so I want to make the most of it.”
Reimer was glad to have hung in this long to get on the West Coast road trip. He and the younger Leafs spent a couple of days sight-seeing in places such as Beverly Hills.
Reimer brought a 1.87 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage after 10 periods into the L.A, game.
QUITE A VISION
On Monday morning, winger Colby Armstrong’s right eye had all the colours of a California beach sunset.
But the swelling from the sucker punch by Ben Eager of the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday had subsided and Armstrong could see well enough to navigate a brief morning skate at the Staples Center and play against the Kings.
“It still feels a little weird, but I’ve also had an eye patch on it a couple of days,” he said. “I can see all right and it’s not hurting. I can pass all right.”
NO. 1,000 FOR HUNTER
Leafs TV calculated that assistant coach Tim Hunter worked his 1,000th game behind the bench on Monday, after starting on Ron Wilson’s staff in Washington in 1997.
“He’s obviously learned a lot,” Wilson said. “When he came in, he probably thought it was a two-hour a day job. But certainly over time, he learned what it takes in terms of dedication and innovation. If you look at his hands (gnarled by years of scrapping), he couldn’t type his name in a computer. Now he’s proficient with it and doing the things I like to see in any coach.”
Wilson already is looking forward to working his second game in San Jose since he was fired three years ago. “It’s not just another game. There’s a lot of players there that I think had an influence on who have gone on to play very well. But it’s important to get the two points.” ... Jonathan Quick’s 20th win, which the Kings goalie was seeking Monday, would give him three consecutive years with 20. He would be the third Kings goalie to do it, joining Rogie Vachon and Kelly Hrudey.
The Marlies are pausing for some R and R in the midst of their own long Western road trip.
After beating the Chicago Wolves in a weekend shootout, they flew to Vancouver on Monday, planning to spend Tuesday around Whistler, B.C. After two days of practice in Vancouver, they take on the Abbotsford Heat on Friday and Sunday, before heading to Winnipeg.
Injuries have taken a toll again, with Nazem Kadri and Christian Hanson day-to-day, while Ryan Hamilton, Greg Scott, Juston Hodgman, Jeff Finger, Luca Caputi and Alex Foster are all out indefinitely.