March 1, 2011
Reimer back in action Wednesday
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - With the trade deadline behind them, the Maple Leafs are poised to resume their unlikely push for a playoff spot.
And they’ll do it with rookie goaltender James Reimer back in action and leading the way.
The Leafs returned to practice Tuesday morning at the Mastercard Centre with the relief of a trade deadline passed and poised to follow up a successful February with a meaningful March to stay in the post-season race.
Prior to Tuesday night’s action, the Leafs remained four points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference currently held by the Carolina Hurricanes.
“How could you go against what the group has done for the last month or so,” Wilson said when asked about the lack of movement at Monday’s trade deadline. “We have an excellent record (since the All-Star Break) and there’s no point in tinkering with our chemistry. The guys have been getting it one and we’re hoping that they can continue to get it done.
“Doing something that sets us back for next year wouldn’t make any sense right now. It’s going to be a challenge to make the playoffs, but it’s going to be a great experience especially for all our young guys.”
Reimer, who left Sunday’s game in Atlanta in the second period after being run over by Thrashers forward Evander Kane, was back in action Tuesday and pronounced himself fit.
He left the game — a 3-2 overtime loss — worried that he might have suffered a minor concussion.
“The symptoms have pretty much cleared up so that’s good,” Reimer said after a busy practice. “I’m just happy it’s not a concussion. You hear bad stories about concussions and they are a tough injury to heal from. Not being that, is really good. It turned out to be some tight muscles in my neck giving me a scare but it’s all good.”
Given the Leafs success with Reimer leading the way, Wilson said the big freshman will get the bulk of the work in the remaining 19 games starting with the first of back-to-back contests Wednesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Air Canada Centre. Although Jonas Gustavsson was recalled from the minors, J-S Giguere will serve as Reimer’s primary backup.
“Reims looks like he’s okay and all things being equal, it’s going to be his ball the rest of the way as long as we stay in the race,” Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “And I think he’s up to it. “