Just listen to Pierre McGuire on the first goal against Reimer. The shot gets by him, through traffic, and he immediately starts prattling on and on about how James Reimer keeps his glove hand low and other teams know that and now teams are shooting glove side high and that’s how James Reimer got beat.
Pierre McGuire: A lot of people talking about shooting high on James Reimer cause his glove is low. Let’s see where his glove is in this situation. … He elevates the puck doesn’t look like there’s a lot of traffic watch where the glove is it’s down by [Reimer’s] hip. That might have been touched going in. That being said a lot of teams are elevating the puck on James Reimer.
There’s only one problem with that: the shot was tipped by Chad LaRose standing in front of the net and went under Reimer’s glove as he butterflyed.
In the past weeks we’ve heard more and more about James Reimer’s glove hand and it’s starting to become an echo chamber, the cliche we apply to say that a large group of people are enacting confirmation bias en masse. Let’s do some critical thinking here.
First off refer to Gabe Desjardin’s post from November of last year where he created a heat map from shooting data from the Finnish league. It’s not the NHL but I think it’s probably instructive:
Frequency of FNL Goal Locations via Behindthenethockey.com
Look where most goals are scored: the top two corners of the net. That’s for every goalie in the league cumulatively so from this image we’ve learned something: most goals are scored in the top corners of the net. So it’s not that a lot of teams are elevating the puck on James Reimer, most goals are scored up high so most shots are probably intended to go high, it’s that a lot of teams elevate the puck on every goalie they face.
Reimer’s had two rough games in his past ten, the Chicago game standing out as particularly bad, but after 22 GP in the NHL he sits with a .921 SV%. He saved 36 of 37 shots last night (0.973) in a four point game for the Leafs and Hurricanes. If teams have figured Reimer out why are the only two teams to light him up teams that also score a lot of goals?
Tampa is playing very well this year and Chicago was on an insane tear when they thumped the Leafs at home.
Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said his staff heavily scouted the Leafs rookie netminder heading into Monday’s night’s game, which went onto become a 6-2 loss and one of Reimer’s worst outings on the year.
Leafs coach Ron Wilson disagreed that teams had begun to solve Reimer, despite the fact his numbers have fallen considerably the past few weeks.
“I think he looked tired,” Wilson said. “Buffalo wasn’t on to him [in Saturday’s 4-3 win over the Sabres] and they’ve seen him a couple times and Tampa suddenly got onto him?
Reimer still sits at a .921 save percentage after 22 games played in the NHL. Ron Wilson makes his point pretty well; if Reimer’s glove hand is so bad that a team like Tampa can just scout it and run the Leafs over why didn’t Buffalo beat him? Why did Carolina give up two easy points at home last night by shooting anywhere else?
Most goals are scored high on the net which means most goalies allow goals over their blocker and glove. Reimer, as his numbers show, is fine.