October 23, 2011
Reimer's reason for playing hurt
By Rob Longley, QMI Agency
PHILADELPHIA - If James Reimer was hurt so badly in the first period Saturday night, why didn’t he come out of the net immediately? The goaltender said Sunday when he first was hit, he didn’t think he was wounded that badly.
“I don’t want to come out in the middle of the play,” Reimer said after watching the team’s practice Sunday. “It wasn’t like it was super aggravating. You want to stay in there for the full period and then get a full evaluation in the intermission.”
That evaluation went through much of the break until finally Leafs coaching and medical staff decided to make the switch. As for the shot he took from Brian Gionta, Reimer didn’t believe there was any intent to injure.
“I obviously don’t think he tried to do it,” Reimer said. “I guess it’s up to the NHL, but I don’t really think so. I don’t think he stuck out his elbow or anything. It’s just some contact in front of the net.”
NO HIT MEN
While they weren’t pleased with the Gionta hit, the Leafs were fairly unanimous in their view that it didn’t merit a suspension.
“I don’t think he was intentionally trying to go out there and do that,” Leafs forward Jay Rosehill said. “It wasn’t anything we felt a need to go after anybody for. I don’t think he’s a dirty player, the kind of player who would go out there and start something like that.”
There’s no shortage of NCAA grads in the Leafs locker room with few more passionate than defenceman John-Michael Liles (Michigan State) Pity poor rookie Jake Gardiner (Wisconsin) then.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the Hail Mary play at the end of Saturday night’s game between Liles’ Spartans and Gardiner’s Badgers was one for the ages. With the score tied and overtime almost assured, State quarterback Kirk Cousins rolled out and let fly with a 44-yard pass that bounced around and eventually ended in the arms of receiver Keith Nichol.
Liles got the verdict while on the tarmac in Montreal before the team’s late-night flight to Philly. And needless to say, Gardiner got an earful about it.
“We were on the airplane so I was checking the Internet,” Liles said on Sunday. “I checked it with four seconds left and it as tied and all of a sudden I refreshed it and it was 37-31 with no time left. It was unbelievable.”
Leafs coach Ron Wilson had a chuckle at his good friend, Rangers coach John Tortorella, and his brief and to-the-point post-game press conference Saturday night in Edmonton where his team was blanked 2-0 by the Oilers.
If you missed it, Tortorella’s “talk” lasted roughly 16 seconds, which Wilson jokingly sees as a challenge.
“Impressive Torts!,” Wilson tweeted later Sunday afternoon. “U just set a new presser record at 16 secs. I’m going to break that record!”
Don’t bet against him.
One reason for optimism for Reimer’s potential quick return to the lineup is that he suffered a similar injury late last season when he was dinged in the head by then-Atlanta Thrasher Evander Kane. Reimer had a pain in the neck after that one as well but did not miss a start ... Monday’s game against the Flyers is the first of 12 that will air on Leafs TV ... The Flyers have won seven of their past nine meetings with the Leafs ... Flyers new goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is 4-0 with a 1.55 goals against average lifetime vs. the Leafs ... The NHL’s scoring leader, Phil Kessel, has struggled against the Flyers in the past. He has just one goal and five assists in 18 games vs. Philly.