Eagle-eyed Reimer

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:16 AM ET

TORONTO - There have been a few famous Leafs goalies to come from Manitoba and James Reimer was a fan of one.

Ed Belfour’s stay in Toronto was brief, but he won almost 100 games in less than three years. He was from small town Carman, while Reimer calls Morweena, Man., home.

“Obviously, he was my hero,” Reimer said on Wednesday at the MasterCard Centre. “I didn’t really have a favourite team, I had a favourite goalie. I kind of got into hockey when he got on that run with Dallas (winning the Stanley Cup in 1999). I stuck with him right until he retired.”

Some have likened Reimer’s ‘economic’ stand-up style to Belfour.

“To be compared to him is an honour,” Reimer said. “He’ a great goalie and a heck of a lot better than I am.”

Jiggy getting better

Jean-Sebastien Giguere could be ready to at least back up Reimer by one of this weekend’s games. Giguere went hard at practice as he tries to fight through yet another groin injury.

“The weekend is a realistic timeline for me for that,” Giguere said. “As it approaches, I will crank it up a little more on the ice, not hold back as much. As of Friday, I hope I can practise regularly and not worry about it. Saturday, if I play or not, I can’t control that.”

The Leafs have a rare Saturday-Sunday back-to-back, beginning at home versus Pittsburgh and then flying down to Atlanta for a 5 p.m. start.

“Reimer has been doing a great job,” Giguere conceded. “Every night, he has given us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask.”

Luke keeps the faith

This is as close to playoff fever as defenceman Luke Schenn has experienced in his three years with the Leafs.

“It’s a bit of a different feeling and a different buzz,” Schenn said of being six points out with three teams to pass before Wednesday night. “It would have been nice to have had a few more wins and have made it closer, but right now, from where we were, we feel good. We’ve beaten some good teams along the way.

“Look back a month and half ago when we were maybe 15 or 16 points back. We crawled our way out. There is still some time here. I really don’t think the pressure is on us, we’re just going out there and having fun. We think we can do it, but three or four teams are competing for the same spot we are.”

Loose Leafs

Reimer on playing his first game in Montreal: “It’s going to be sick, it’s a heck of a barn to play in. It’s one of the loudest in the league and there is a lot of energy there. I can use it to my advantage, but at the same time, not get swept away in it.” ... Joffrey Lupul was not at practice on Wednesday. “He’s banged up and under the weather,” coach Ron Wilson said, but added the winger should play against the Habs ... Winger Clarke MacArthur wasn’t sure what to be more concerned with this week, his contract talks or Monday’s NHL trade deadline. “Nothing concrete,” MacArthur said of negotiations, adding: “Tomorrow we could be talking about me going somewhere else. Who knows?” ... With all the talk about what the Leafs will do with their two first-round picks, interesting to note that Montreal’s Lars Eller represents the choice that Toronto gave San Jose in the trade to acquire Vesa Toskala and Mark Bell in 2007. The Sharks traded that pick (13th overall) to the Blues, who took Eller and sent him East in the Jaroslav Halak deal last summer.


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