QUE SERA CRHA
James Reimer apologized that he had never heard of Jiri Crha.
But he’ll have to familiarize himself with more of the names he’s starting to pass for victories by Leafs rookie goaltenders. Starting from scratch on Jan. 1 in Ottawa, Reimer made it to 20 on Saturday in his return to Scotiabank Place. That knotted him with the Czech Crha, a one-year wonder 30 seasons ago. If Reimer were to run the Leafs’ three remaining games, he’d catch Ed Chadwick (21 wins in 1956-57), Turk Broda (22 in ‘36-37) and tie Mike Palmateer (23 in ‘74-75). The record is 27, set 60 years ago by Al Rollins.
“I couldn’t care less about personal stats,” Reimer said. “Wins are always good of course, but it means your team is doing well and trying hard every night.
“I’m not sure about the modern history of the team, whether they’ve played important games this late in the season (Toronto did hang in until Game 82 in ’07), but I think we’re doing a heck of a job.
“It’s not by fluke that we’re playing important games now, it’s by our determination. To a man, we know we’re a really good team and we believe.”
UP OFF THE MATT
Matt Lashoff looked to have survived an awkward hit into the wall by Zack Smith of the Senators on Saturday. Smith was given five for boarding.
“It was a little bit of a scary hit,” the defenceman said. “I didn’t get to see it afterwards, but he hit me in a vulnerable position. But I’d take that hit 10 more times to give my team a five-minute power play and the opportunity to win.”
NOW THAT’S A CUP
While at a recent autograph session in Montreal, Leafs great Johnny Bower told the Gazette newspaper one of his his favourite stories, when a pretty 20-something asked him to sign his hockey card, then pulled out a sassy lace bra from a paper bag to inscribe a more intimate message.
“Well I couldn’t sign it,” the 86-year-old Bower said with a laugh. “I asked: ‘How do I know you’re not a lady of the night?. How would it look for me to be signing that?’ She got pretty mad at me. It’s too bad Eddie Shack wasn’t with me. He would have signed it, especially if she put it on.”
Rookie forward Nazem Kadri says he’s more relaxed in his second spin with the Leafs and thus the puck is going in with less effort. He hustled to strip Craig Anderson behind the net Saturday and banked in a shot ... “It was pretty tough to score when I first came up,” Kadri said. “I was just a little snakebitten. But it’s unbelievable what kind of things happen when you just throw the puck on the net ... Ron Wilson needs one more win to tie Bryan Murray for sixth in NHL coaching wins. Wilson reached 619 on Saturday when he beat GM Murray’s Senators ... Reimer had never heard his name chanted in a visiting rink as loudly as Saturday in Ottawa. “I know there were a lot of Toronto fans here,” he said. “We’re a team that’s blessed that wherever we play, we have a lot of support. They make the game fun and they’re kind of our sixth man out there.”
THIS DAY IN LEAFS HISTORY
April 4, 1971
How about bringing Yanic Perreault back to the Leafs a fourth time on this, his 40th birthday?
Perreault, one of the NHL‚s best faceoff men, had a habit of finding his way home after the Leafs made him their first pick, 47th overall in 1991. Their top pick had gone to the Devils in the trade for Tom Kurvers, which Jersey turned into Scott Niedermayer. But Perreault did have good years with the Toronto organization, startng as a 100-point man in St. John‚s. After playing briefly for the Leafs in 1993-94, he went to the L.A. Kings for a fourth round pick and was re-acquired five years later when Mike Smith and Pat Quinn were running the team.
He was part of the Eastern Conference finalist Leafs in Œ99 and played more than 200 regular season and playoff games in all with 138 points. Let go as a free agent to the Habs, he appeared one more time in blue and white when Quinn scooped him from Phoenix in Œ06 for Brendan Bell. In total, Perreault spent his last five NHL seasons with five different teams, retiring with Chicago in Œ08.