TORONTO - James Reimer barely has peeled the lid off what could be a potentially long NHL career, but he already has memories of Ryan Miller.
Reimer used to watch the stellar Buffalo Sabres goalie when the latter played for the Rochester Americans against the Manitoba Moose in the American Hockey League playoffs.
“I remember that and how the whole crowd was giving him the (derisive) Miller chant,” Reimer, a Manitoba native, said. “You look up to a guy who has had that much success and works that hard. I don’t think anything has been given to him. You admire what he has done. Hopefully I can do that in my career and be as successful as he is.”
Darryl Boyce was one of the happier Leafs on Sunday night as his alma mater, the University of New Brunswick, won the CIS men’s hockey championship with a 4-0 win against McGill.
Four years ago, Boyce helped UNB win a national title. UNB has won the CIS crown three times in five years.
“It was great,” Boyce said. “I was talking to some of them and they were lighting up the town red.”
Boyce spent four seasons with the St. Michael’s Majors and then two with UNB before John Ferguson, the Leafs’ general manager at the time, signed him as a free agent. There’s no doubt CIS hockey has come a long way in recent years, as most rosters across the country are filled with former major junior players. And the odd one, such as Boyce and Joel Ward of the Nashville Predators, pick up their dreams where they left them in junior and play in the NHL. Ward played four seasons in Owen Sound and four with the University of Prince Edward Island prior to becoming an NHL regular two years ago with the Predators.
“It’s all about finding the diamond in the rough,” Boyce said.
If the Leafs are tied with the Sabres and it’s late in regulation on Tuesday night at the Air Canada Centre, coach Ron Wilson will not press harder for a victory by pulling his goaltender.
“I would probably not do that,” Wilson said. “If it was a game where they got the extra point and that was going to eliminate us (from playoff contention), then you would think about it. But we still will try to find a way to win the hockey game. That has not crossed my mind yet.”
Former Leafs prospect Brad Boyes will play in 83 games this season if he plays in all of the Sabres’ remaining seven games. It’s nothing new for the Mississauga native, who has missed one game, in 2006-07, since becoming an NHL regular with the Boston Bruins in 2005-06. Boyes was acquired from the St. Louis Blues this season by the Sabres ... The Leafs (four) and the Sabres (two) have scored a total of six short-handed goals this season, putting them among the lowest in the league in that category. The Tampa Bay Lightning has scored just one short-handed goal, the least in the NHL, while the New York Islanders lead the league with 13.