James Reimer will suit up tonight in LA for the Leafs and will be sent back to Marlies as soon as Giggy’s ready.
That sad news came courtesy of AM640’s Marlies beat writer Kyle Cicerella this morning on Twitter. Ron Wilson had this to add as well, “This week, he’ll probably have to go back before we activate Jiggy,” Wilson said. “But he’s got some great experience, we have faith that he can get the job done and that’s a real bonus for us right now. We have two other goalies down there playing well, too, (Jussi Rynnas and Ben Scrivens). You can only use one goalie at a time, but it gives (general manager) Brian Burke some options.”
As Chemmy wrote in his post on Reimer this morning, "Hopefully sending Reimer back to the Marlies is a shrewd move. Perhaps he was due to cool off and getting him back into the AHL means he can continue polishing his game with the new confidence of dominating the NHL. Perhaps Burke is looking forward and not jeopardizing development for short term gains." That’s the important thing to take away from all this. While keeping Reimer up would provide better goaltending over the Gustavsson/Giguere combo, this season is lost already. Burke is showing some patience here, a first for him in his Leafs tenure (think the panicked Kadri callup), so that’s a good thing going forward. But enough about the future and how ultimately this move benefits the Leafs of tomorrow while harming the Leafs of today; something I’m in favor of. Let’s get to Reimer’s possible last NHL start of the 2010-11 season (until Giggy reinjures his groin in two weeks) and how the Leafs can come out of Hollywood with a win.
Probably the best news for the Leafs to hear is that Los Angeles won their last game 6-4 over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Previous to that, they had lost 5 in row to a combined score of 23 to 12. How is this good for the Leafs you ask? Because this means that Slumpbusters Incorporated is no longer in effect for the Maple Leafs. Thank you Columbus Blue Jackets! Also of good news to the Leafs is that this game is taking place in Los Angeles and not Toronto. This means that the all too familiar "Former Leafs player comes back to town and lights up the Leafs" is not in effect for Alexei Ponikarovsky. We’re only a Kings broadcast team standing under a ladder away from another 9-3 drubbing. Everything’s coming up Milhouse!
Picked to be a Stanley Cup contender out of the West prior to the start of the season, the Kings find themselves in a 4-way (BCWW) tie for 8th in the Western Conference with 47 points through 41 games. That puts them on pace for a 94 point season which would have had golfing in April after finishing 9th last season. When you look at this team on the surface, they sure don’t seem like a 9th place team; Kopitar, Doughty, Williams, Johnson, Brown, Quick, Scuderi, Smyth. But then you realize that that’s it. The Kings are incredibly top heavy and getting little to no production from their 3rd and 4th lines, something the Leafs are all too familiar with. Among the Kings’ top 10 scorers, 3 are defenseman. Aside from Kopitar being on pace for 90 and Williams returning to his former form as a 70 point player, the Kings are incredibly similar to the Leafs and show just how important having a true first line really is. Imagine the Leafs with Kopitar and Smyth playing alongside Kessel. Yeah, scary good hockey.
Anything thing the Kings have that the Leafs would like is a young, skilled goaltending tandem. Quick has been lights out this season positing a .921 sv% and a 2.15 GAA. Thoughts were pre-season that Jonathan Bernier would steal the starter’s rights away from Quick, but he’s struggled a bit in his rookie season with only 4 wins and a .888 sv%. Really though one goalie giving you .920+ for 60 games and another giving you .890 for the remainder gives you a team sv% of .910 for the season which is something we’ve all said the Leafs desperately need. Unfortunately for the Leafs, they get Quick tonight so the goals probably won’t be coming in as much as they did last week.
More than likely out for the evening in Captain Intangibles Colby Armstrong who suffered a scratched corner courtesy of meat head Ben Eager last Friday night. Mike Brown looks to return on Thursday and there have been no recalls made so expect another game of Brett "HOW IN THE HELL DID YOU GO -3?" Lebda playing forward on the 4th line. If Wilson plays him for more than 5 minutes I’ll probably lose my shit. No other lineup changes are expected from Friday’s game.
GO LEAFS GO!