March 27 2014 11:56AM
When Jonathan Bernier's groin took a turn for the worse against his former Los Angeles Kings, two things became apparent; James Reimer was going to have a chance to bring his reputation back up (for various reasons, it didn't happen), and Drew MacIntyre was to have an opportunity to show that he's more than just a minor league goalie.
The reasons for why can be debated, but ultimately, MacIntyre only played once, coming in for Reimer during a loss to the New Jersey Devils. He stopped every shot, but ultimately, didn't get to have his first career NHL start. Unsurprisingly, Drew was a bit disappointed.
"Yeah. I am. It would have been nice. I was really hoping. A couple times, I was anxiously waiting throughout the day to hear (I would be in).. anyway, that's what it is." he made clear, however, that his disappointment was based in hope and not entitlement. "I'm not saying I should have started. But of course I'm disappointed, I felt like I could have helped."
When I asked him if he felt his performance against New Jersey was a solid audition, he seemed less than optimistic. "No. I mean, I've been in games where I've come in, and it's never really done much for me. So, I'm not too confident that it was enough. I've heard it so many times, these teams say I don't have NHL experience. I don't think they count games where you're thrown in."
Something I was personally curious about was the difference in defensive play. The Leafs, of course, bleed shots against, but with the exception of this weekend, the Marlies have been pretty good about limiting teams to under 30 shots a game. "Not really (in terms of) systems." said MacIntyre "We're (the Marlies are) one of the top defensive teams in the league. Second (in goals against), close to first. We're doing something right, the guys do a great job here."
But, was there anything that he may have picked up in his week up to better his game? "Nothing too crazy. It's motivated me, showing me that I need to do more to get up there. Little bits and pieces are kind of nice to see, and kind of pick up on, but nothing crazy."
With Bernier and Reimer healthy (to an extent; who knows if their respective groin and head are truly 100%), it seems like MacIntyre's focus will be on the Marlies for the rest of the season. It's certainly good for the team; he's arguably the best goaltender in this league, and a big reason why a young and raw team is running away with their division in a year where many had them out of the AHL playoff picture.
MacIntyre was also wearing a new mask on his head in today's practice. "I had it done before I left. It wasn't quite ready yet, though". It's an inverted colour version of his current mask, created to give a bit of home and away flair to his gear.
- With MacIntyre back, it looks like the odd man out for the Marlies is Christopher Gibson. He won't be travelling with the team to Rochester for their game tomorrow.
- Meeting the team down there, however, is Eric Knodel. Knodel is a 2005 Leafs 5th round pick who has spent the last couple of years playing for the Univeresity of New Hampshire, and is soon to make is professional debut.
Header photo courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com