TORONTO - There are indications goalie James Reimer is on the short list to be invited to play for Team Canada later this month at the world championship in Slovakia. The general manager of the team is Leafs senior vice-president David Nonis. Official announcements aren’t coming until next week when the NHL playoff picture will be settled. Much depends on the Carolina Hurricanes, who could potentially contribute goalie Cam Ward as well as scoring threat Jeff Skinner to the Canadian side.
“I’ve heard rumours and stuff and that would be a great opportunity,” Reimer said Friday. “Hopefully, it arises.”
Defencemen Dion Phaneuf and Luke Schenn are other possibilities to be picked.”
AM 640 reported Friday that Nikolai Kulemin will be back to play for Russia at the worlds, while Mikhail Grabovski will get another invite from Belarus.
JIGGY VOWS RETURN
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere says he will have his sports hernia surgery done in plenty of time to get back in shape for the 2011-12 season. Whether that’s with the Leafs remains to be seen, but if he can prove he’s 100% and is willing to take a big pay cut, Brian Burke might utilize him ahead of Jonas Gustavsson as No. 2 to Reimer.
Giguere revealed Friday that as far back as September he knew he would need the post-season surgery, having the same procedure done four years ago when Anaheim won the Stanley Cup. But rather than play with an undisclosed injury, as goalie Vesa Toskala did to management’s ire last season,
Giguere and the team were on board with trying to get through the schedule. However, the problem led to groin damage that kept him out three different stretches.
“It’s been a nightmare season for me,” Giguere said. “It’s a relief now that I can try and get it fixed. It was tough that I didn’t have the confidence that my body would hold up. I wasn’t in pain, but it was a mental battle. But I get a lot of money for what I do, so I can’t complain.
“The sooner I get it done, the more I can into my recovery program. After two weeks, you can start doing stuff.”
Putting Grab on Habs
There won’t be a playoff spot for the Leafs, but they would like to complete some book keeping in Saturday’s final game against Montreal. Grabovski needs one goal to become the third Leaf to reach 30, behind Kulemin and Phil Kessel. That would give Toronto a trio of 30s for the first time since Doug Gilmour, Mats Sundin and Mike Gartner some 15 years ago.
If the thought of getting the milestone against his former Montreal team was appealing, Grabovski hid his emotions well on Friday.
“The most important thing is the win,” he said. “I will try and shoot more, but if I have the chance to get Nikolai
No. 31 or help (left winger) Clarke MacArthur, I will do that, too.”
Not that the Leafs have to worry this year, but the NHL draft lottery will be conducted Tuesday. A year ago, Boston had a chance to move from second to first with Toronto’s pick. This time. Toronto and Boston hold each others’ first-rounders and the Leafs also have the Flyers’ pick ... Reimer can tie Ed Chadwick for the sixth-most wins by a Leaf rookie if he gets his 21st on Saturday ... The Leafs will likely take Sunday off and hold exit meetings on Monday with general manager Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson ... Luke Schenn on the Habs’ game. “It doesn’t have the same scenario as last year when we could have knocked them out of the playoffs, but Toronto - Montreal, it doesn’t matter what the stakes are. It’s always a good rivalry. In the course of 82 games, every team is allowed to go through a little slump, but ours was bigger.”