Oh, I remember his often stated “win and you’re in” comments, and based on that, Reimer should have played more by now, but coaches have a right to play whoever they want, whenever they want. They also have the right to change their mind.
Bernier has often sparkled this season and has earned his time. While I’m sure Reimer could have handled a back-to-back assignment on the road, why not give Bernier the net on the back end of the doubleheader?
I assume Carlyle will give Reimer the same benefit down the road, if this truly is a fair, level playing field “competition”.
Meanwhile, it’s all the better if the players can feel comfortable and confident with either guy in net.
After yet another game where the team is outshot (yet wins), among other statistical failings, it seems inevitable that there will be a headline somewhere that reads: “Leafs at bottom of Corsi rankings; remain in first place in the East…”
Special teams matter. We all remember when the power play (and we will have those droughts again this year, lest we forget the not-so-distant past) couldn’t seem to buy a goal and we simply could not kill penalties. It’s more than just McClement on the PK and more than one guy on the power play.
The coaching staff may deserve some of the criticism they receive, but it’s also time to give them some credit. Kadri has thrived under Carlyle. So have Kessel and Lupul and Bolland, well, just about everyone on the forward lines. (The ones who didn’t are gone, and not doing much elsewhere, as best I can detect…)
And yes, those special teams are measurably better than they were two years ago. Carlyle and company must have something to do with that.
We will all continue to say, “The Leafs can’t keep this up. They’ve been lucky. Their goaltending has bailed them out. They turn the puck over too much. Their puck possession stats are terrible. They take way too many penalties. They haven't faced many hot goalies." All largely true.
But it’s also true that they are winning, and sometimes belief in yourself—individually and as a team—triggers the kind of confidence that you can’t buy, and allows a group to overcome what statistics are trying to tell us. Winning begats winning.
There is a lot more to this team than Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf, but they have both earned their recent billing…Nice to see ex-Leaf-in-waiting Joe Colborne play important minutes for the Flames.