WWYD – Pulling Your Goalie (Twice)

Last night was hilarious. Jonathan Bernier nicks himself with his skate and has to leave the game to get fixed up. James Reimer relieves him for the briefest of moments, and gets pulled when Bernier is ready to return. Bernier then gives up two goals and the Nashville Predators beat the Toronto Maple Leafs for their tenth straight loss. What a riot!

Just kidding. That whole thing bummed a lot of people out. I get that James Reimer is a nice boy and that this city is full of Reimer supporters who think that the Leafs are being big meanies because Bernier is getting more starts (perhaps undeserved, considering recent play). I just think that emotions run high and some of Reimer’s fans just get excited because they think he’s a victim. 

But hey, you know what? Boo hoo. It’s professional sports. It was Bernier’s game. 

If you think Reimer should get more ice time – which he absolutely should – get upset that he isn’t  getting more starts, not that he isn’t getting more relief opportunities. 

Reimer came into the game cold, and on a Nashville power play. That isn’t exactly putting him in the best opportunity to succeed. With a back-to-back coming up this weekend, let Reimer take a game against the Devils or Oilers and get over this whole double goalie pull situation. That’s how you properly involve a goaltender in your game plan. 

The Situation

You’re the coach of a (pretty bad) professional ice hockey team.

Your “1A” goaltender has cut the back of his leg with his own skate on a breakaway save, and requires repairs. Your “1B” has to take over for the remainder of the period, and for a couple minutes to begin the next period. Your “1A” goaltender has since been patched and/or stitched up and is ready to play again.

What do you do? “1B” hasn’t given up any goals on four shots through five-and-a-half minutes, and you’ve actually taken the lead in the game! But 1A did start the game and he’s willing and able to finish it. It’s a tough call to make.

How would you have handled last night’s minor goalie fiasco? Answer in the comments below. 

Winner gets to coach the Toronto Maple Leafs next year.

  • STAN

    Pulling a goalie is essentially to kick-start your team to play better OR replace terrible goaltending.

    When Reimer went in, the Leafs actually took the lead in the game. And the kick-start was in effect.

    Not to say putting Bernier back in made or break the loss, but Reimer did what a goaltending change should do to a team. Maybe just because the goalie that started the game says he’s ready to go back in after 15 stiches? Isn’t the best call. It’s the coaches.

    0-9-1 last ten. Maybe Pete should consider going against his gut for once…

  • Bertly83

    i’d keep the 1B goalie in the net the rest of the game for 2 reasons:

    1) the team was ahead after he came in, so the energy has changed for the better.

    2) to not re-aggravate (split the stitches?) of a recently injured/repaired 1A goalie.

    • I have an issue believing that Reimer coming into the game “woke the team up”. I 100% believe he had nothing to do with the team taking the lead.

      To your second point, I’m more likely to agree with you there. That being said, none of us are doctors, and it depends a lot on the specific injury.

      I never played at a massively high level of hockey, but I cut myself with my own skate in a similar fashion once and yes I was bleeding and yes I got it patched up, but I also kept playing. It didn’t bother me at all and I wasn’t worried about re-aggravating it. Then again, maybe that makes me an idiot (probable), but it’s a unique situation for everyone.

      • Even if putting Reimer in did not wake up the team, taking Reimer out couldn’t have done anything positive.

        Wouldn’t anyone on the team question such a decision?

        That’s just a weird thing to do and looks like a vote of non-confidence when the flow of the game has obviously changed for the better.

        And of course once Fisher scored minutes after the team couldn’t possibly be feeling positive.

        It’s speculation but I just don’t see how putting Bernier back in could have gone positively. Even if he started he hasn’t been good lately and having just injured himself however minor has essentially gone cold.

        That’s not a combination for success and regardless of speculation the fact is the Leafs lost again.

    • I have an issue believing that Reimer coming into the game “woke the team up”. I 100% believe he had nothing to do with the team taking the lead.

      To your second point, I’m more likely to agree with you there. That being said, none of us are doctors, and it depends a lot on the specific injury.

      I never played at a massively high level of hockey, but I cut myself with my own skate in a similar fashion once and yes I was bleeding and yes I got it patched up, but I also kept playing. It didn’t bother me at all and I wasn’t worried about re-aggravating it. Then again, maybe that makes me an idiot (probable), but it’s a unique situation for everyone.

  • Like Bertly83 mentioned above, I think you just use caution and keep Bernier out. I mean, whether or not you believe Reimer jump-started the team, the game was going okay and it’s not like they needed Bernier back in there so bad it was worth sending him in with an injury, no matter how minor. And trust me, I’m no Reimer supporter, but I think you just let him finish it out and tell Bernier to take it easy for the night.

  • jasken

    Send him back in dont send him either way it is a coach’s decision. Did Reims spark a comeback possible as professionals have these silly superstitions they believe in. So if the players believed the goalie change was the reason for the spark it was regardless of what we say. Bernier just had to look at the score and say you know what coach were winning I dont want to change the momentum or the positive feeling the guys have I will sit.

    Now what I want to really know what exactly did Reims say when he finally spoke to Horachek before sitting down on the bench. Horachek’s facial expression was priceless.

  • jasken

    For whatever reason the momentum of the game shifted. The Leafs had a shot at a win. Reimer got over the cold start and was making saves. Bernier had time to cool off – and tighten up because you cant be moving much whilst getting stitches in your leg – and he was injured. Maybe a minor injury but still.

    Peter Horachek takes the media attention away from Pete Carroll – worst play call ever lol.

    Leave Reimer in.

  • jasken

    I actually prefer Bernier but I have to stick with Reimer.
    He is warmed up and Bernier is now cold and will take a while to get warm after a prolonged break like that.
    This team is also obviously mentally weak I wouldn’t do anything while they are close to breaking the funk.
    It may not have made a difference but In my mind the pros outwayed the cons for putting Bernier back in.