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Despite declining numbers, give Reimer a shot in Winnipeg…

Some of us Leaf fans are well aware that James Reimer has not “been himself” for quite some time.  His plummeting numbers (GAA and SP) over the past couple of months verify what we have witnessed: a goalie who knows he lost an unfair competition, and that his days in Toronto are numbered.

I’ve heard all the “guys have to battle through these things” I need to hear.  The fact is, Reimer has in fact battled on, despite the lousy hand he has been dealt.  Sure, it can be argued that Bernier has often played like a number-one goaltender. In fact, I think he has.  But what’s the sample size again?  Part of half a season in the NHL? Let’s re-convene after both goaltenders have been in the playoffs a few times, and maybe (maybe) then we can make fair assessments as to what each brings under the spring spotlight.

Need we look any further than Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh to determine how difficult it is to know if your guy in goal is really dependable—much less a bonafide star?  Fleury helped the Penguins get to the finals twice and won a Cup.  That should be proof, right?

Yet, as recently as last spring, the Penguins were afraid to use him when it mattered in the playoffs.  And what about Carey Price?  That’s the story of a hot and cold career journey if there ever has been one.  One year Hab fans want him out of town; in the next breath, he will supposedly be the guy in goal for Team Canada. Price can be amazing—and quite ordinary, just like most NHL caliber goaltenders.

This is all by way of saying that I’d like to see Reimer get a start on Saturday night in Winnipeg, a game that because of his family origins, would obviously have some meaning for the Manitoba boy. (As I write this, the decision may already have been made and announced, I realize.)

Does he “deserve” the start in Winnipeg?  I won’t try to make that argument.  Nor will I even entertain the thought that there is still a competition ongoing.  It’s not a question of Reimer getting a chance to prove he can be the guy in goal again in Toronto.  That ship has sailed. The “competition” was decided in June.

I’ll just say this: if Carlyle really and truly wants to have more than one netminder mentally locked in (just in case they need two at some point, and even in the playoffs), I’d stop throwing Reimer under the bus.

For me, the precipitous “numbers” drop correlates rather obviously to the fact that, as I have long discussed here, Reimer has been treated abysmally by Carlyle and the Leaf brass from Leiweke on down.  The most recent example?  Reimer could have been called upon to start the game in Dallas, after a strong showing (not flawless, but strong) against the Avs.  But we all knew that was never going to happen.

Did anyone really expect him to continue his generally stellar early-season play once he began being pulled from games (when he obviously wanted to fight through tough nights), or when Carlyle steadfastly refused to give him an extended opportunity to start games without Reimer having to worry about being yanked?  Once it became evident Reimer had no real chance and Bernier was going to play a lot more, Reimer's numbers have sunk accordingly.

So, we are where we are. One goalie knows he will always get the net back and "the guy we inherited" will always be looking over his shoulder, knowing his time in the Leaf net will be intermittent, at best. 

And yet many fans somehow think this is a good arrangement.

Just as some may be tired of reading that point of view here, I am equally tired of the stuff that is trotted out there that now describes Reimer as a “back up” in people’s minds, a goalie that you can’t move and can’t get much for in a trade.

How can people not see that if you tear a job away from someone by trading for another goalie, if you create a “competition” but make sure the other guy has every advantage and is allowed (as was the case through the first half of the season) to play through in-game problems when you aren't granted the same privilege, it might just eat away at a player’s soul- and psyche?

Reimer was playing just fine, thank you, through the first couple of months of the season—when given the chance.  It’s funny; a long time ago in this space, I called for Carlyle to give both goalies an extended look in goal.  No more of this one game here and there, “win and you’re in” or whatever.  Who is the guy who got that opportunity to play an extended string of games?  Bernier, not Reimer.

Bernier has been allowed to play through difficult games and stretches—Reimer is out at the first sign of trouble.  That’s a fact.

Fans will point out that Reimer was awful in Dallas.  Well, ah, sure. As was the team in front of him- for both he and Bernier.  But Carlyle's pattern has been to virtually always go back with Bernier when he struggles. If Reimer has an off game, he will not get the next start and may sit for days on end.

Most Leaf fans love Bernier (do they also like his attitude? Really?), it seems, as the number-one.  And that’s fine.  Reimer won’t be here much longer to kick around.

But my point is, when it comes to Saturday night, while every game is important in the standings, surely Carlyle can at the very least see that Reimer would love that start.  While he has not been perfect, he has won his last two starts. (He’s not, however, the world’s best “reliever”, as his performance Thursday night in Dallas reminded us.)

But let me put it this way:  if Carlyle has no confidence that Reimer can win a big road game in the middle of a long, boring NHL season—a game that would so obviously mean something to Reimer—than the pre-ordained scenario I have talked about since the summer trade was made has indeed unfolded exactly as I anticipated.  This never was, then, a level playing field.

But more importantly, if Carlyle doesn’t believe in Reimer enough to play him in a game that would mean so much to him, then the coach better hope he doesn’t have to run with Reimer if Bernier’s play falls off at some point.

And Carlyle should not expect Reimer to be “all in” the rest of the way.  Reimer would never, ever express that, and may not even acknowledge that to himself.  Athletes almost never do. But inside, these intensely competitive individuals are affected by being shuffled around, no matter how much those of us sideline commentators may suggest they should just be mentally tough and deal with it.

The Leafs, as is their history, are ensuring Reimer’s value on the trade market is as low as it can possibly be.

It’s too late, in my view, to undo the damage that has been done this season.  But Carlyle still has an opportunity to keep two goaltenders feeling at least OK about themselves heading down the crucial stretch run.  A good coach knows you have to make all your players feel important.  An even better coach makes sure all his roster guys know they are important.

I wonder what kind of coach we have?


  1. Apparently Reimer is playing tomorrow, so chalk one up for Carlyle! I'd love to see James' confidence return, if in fact it has taken the beating it appears it has, because we're going to need two goalies playing well when we go into the final 6 weeks of the season. Of more concern to me is the way the Stars neutralized our first line and seemed to buffalo our defence. If other teams adopt their strategy, it could be a real test for our guys.
    A fired-up Jets team under an ex-Leaf coach should be a good challenge for us, and our effort will go a long way to show just exactly what kind of team we have this year.

  2. Reimer played well last time in Winnipeg .920 save%

    Kessel broke his drought to win the game last year. I forgot where I was, and hooted and hollered in that Winnipeg bar so loudly that I don't think people liked me. (I always cheer at my house in Winnipeg and nobody complains)

    I was on the lookout for Leafs today but didn't see any. I met Komisarek last year.

    1. I recall your mentioning running into Komisarek a year ago when the Leafs visited town, DP. I seem to remember you saying here that he presented as a very good person. He was a solid citizen for the Leafs.

      Funny, eh- when we cheer in public, especially in a hostile environment, it's not always endorsed!

  3. I didn't like this situation from the start but it could have a least been better managed. Reimer has always needed to play a lot to be at his best and Bernier is used to playing less. I understand that they want Bernier to be " the guy" and wanted to see how many games he could handle but they pushed things too fast in my mind. Playing Reimer more in the beginning while Bernier settled in made more sense to me, giving him more starts as the season progressed. They still insist they want to keep both goalies (we can believe that or not) so why have they not put both in the best possible position to succeed? Bernier has shown he's not yet ready for the work load of a stating goal-tender and Reimer has lost confidence and that competitive spirit that I thought was his best quality as a goalie. Both are struggling.
    Because of the Olympic break, the back-to-backs, and less time between games this situation might have been managed to work well for both goalies. Not perfect by any means but workable for this year. Instead, the situation has been so mismanaged from the start that neither goalie is performing to level we know they are capable and both are being pulled regularly after poor starts. I've never seen goalies pulled so many times. It's a mess that will soon become a joke and the fault belongs to the coaching staff and no one else. How to fix it is beyond me and certainly beyond Carlyle who doesn't have a clue why this hasn't worked in the first place. C.N.

    1. I agree that this could indeed have been workable this season (not something I personally liked, but for one year, OK). But they have mad a mash of this from the get go.

      You've well articulated the other path Carlyle could have chosen. But they were clearly intent on making sure everyone knew Bernier was the number-one guy, though they wouldn't say it publicly. Now we are left with a situation which is not healthy, not just for Reimer, but the team.

  4. I'm posting this separately because the topic is different.
    I'm concerned at the way the team regresses and reverts to old habits when tired or not at their best. If they have truly learned Carlyle's system it should be automatic tired or not. They shouldn't have to think about it. If players believe in a system (and they insist they do), are committed to it and have practiced it for over a year, why have they still not learned it? A little fatigue, a little pressure and the whole thing including the system goes out the window. C.N.

  5. If Reimer's confidence hadn't taken a knock this season, he'd have to be superhuman. Sure, he probably has been preparing for a reduced role since the Bernier trade became official, but preparing for is one thing and living it is another. Also, it should be noted how teammates often praise their goalies for "giving them a chance to win every night", but the netminders never, ever berate their teams for laying an egg in front of them. Sure they do in the dressing room but in public, never.

    On individual skill level, we have a talented team. We are no Blackhawks or Penguins, but neither are the Bruins. We have a winning record, but we never, and I mean ever, post a win with a subpar save percentage. Boston needs Rask to be a contender, but they'd be pretty good even without him. I'm not sure how Pens managed to win a Cup with Fleury, but apparently they did. We, on the other hand, would have been nowhere near the playoffs last season without Reimer, and without the stellar performances by both of out netminders this season, we might be in a firesale mode by now.

    We seldom dominate when we win, our losses tend to look prettier on the scoreboard than they should, and we occasionally get blown out.

    Now THAT is the reason I wonder what kind of a coach we have.

    1. Hi Tapio (CGLN)- the Leafs still have time to become a consistent, hard to play against team heading into the playoffs. Whether that happens, I don't know. Thanks for chiming in!

  6. I think Randy is an astute judge of what it takes to keep his job. Some things don't need to be said by management, but does anyone think he would get more of the benefit of the doubt from Nonis and Leiweke during a protracted losing streak if he was playing Reimer more than Bernier?

    Another example of self-preservation by this coach affecting the roster is Troy Bodie. While he has done some good things when put in the lineup, it strains credulity to believe he is higher on the depth chart.than at least half a dozen guys on the Marlies. I haven't paid attention to who is a healthy scratch with the Leafs, but since he's only played 17 games with the Marlies, he must have spent much of this season with the Leafs, not playing. It means Bodie has collected an NHL salary rather than what I take would be significantly less in the minors.

    Where I work, it would bother me to see the son-in-law of my boss being given a promotion over others whose performance shows they are more deserving. And doesn't it harken back to Carl Brewer's reincarnation with the Leaf's under Punch in the 70s, with suggestions that he was Imlach's mole in the dressing room? Remember how that seemed to affect the Leafs at that time?

    On today's Leafs, do you think players are comfortable talking frankly about Leaf's management, knowing Troy is going to be talking with his wife (Tim's daughter), or at Sunday dinner with Tim

    If we want to look for reasons why this team doesn't seem as tight knit as last year, maybe we shouldn't look further than these roster decisions.

    1. Bodie's play has been solid. The real crime is that Colton Orr hasn't been sent down. He's collecting more salary and playing worse.

      Ideally Bodie should be on the 4th line with McClement and Ashton for a 4th line that can play real minutes.

      On the third line, bring up Abbott for the smaller teams and Lievo for the larger ones. Holland has chemistry with both players down in the AHL.

      Play Orr only against the toughest teams. I think there was a time when you kept your goons in the minors and only brought them up against really tough teams. Why can't we do that?

    2. My understanding is that they are playing Bodie because he's thought of as a bottom six guy, whereas the ones you mention being better are hopefully top six guys. They don't want to call them up just to have them sit on the bench for 57 minutes.

      My knowledge of the Marlies is sadly insufficient, so I stand to be corrected.

  7. It must be difficult when a coach is in self preservation mode. I've always assumed Carlyle, like any coach with authority, makes all roster decisions. But as you suggest, Steve, other factors can come into play. (I do well remember the Imlach-Brewer situation you refer to here.)

    Carlyle wants to win more than anyone. And I have no doubt he has faith in Bernier. I just think he has handled the Reimer situation terribly this season. Just my view. Thanks Steve.

  8. Well said, Michael. Every time I had a thought that flowed from your comments, I found you wrote what I was thinking! There's not much I could add, that isn't just a re-statement or slightly different angle.

    I'm glad that Reimer is being given a chance to shine at home and I hope that the rest of the team provides the kind of support and effort that James has given to them over his time in Leaf-land.

    Perhaps Carlyle, who spent a lot of time in Winnipeg, can't fail to see the possibility of multiple benefits from giving James another shot (even after the relief appearance in Dallas). Reimer is a starter and has probably failed to show he's a 'good backup' going forward, precisely because he is a starter and has that make-up/mentality. I have little doubt that James will overcome the sleights he has received in Toronto and wouldn't put it past him to be capable of a future with the Leafs (and putting this year in his rear view mirror, if called upon to do so).

    Who woulda' thought Luongo could carry on in Vancouver after the Schneider situation?

    Even if it is the slightest hope, there may be a future with James in Toronto...

    What if Bernier is the one who's trade value is being raised by the opportunities he's been given... despite any preference by Leiweke, what if Nonis really does have the reigns and freedom to do what's best... perhaps James work ethic and attitude might just be enough to make a difference. BTW, it's not like I'm actively 'holding out hope' for this scenario, merely suggesting that stranger things have happened!

    What if, this has been a strategy to keep the player who is on record as appreciating his salary (when it was smaller) at a level that is in the long term interests of the team (while giving Bernier a chance to prove he can be more than Quick's backup, so that he can be part of a blockbuster down the road).

    Oh well, as long as things are still 'possible' I do enjoy thinking about unexpected scenarios... thanks for being the muse for that!

    1. I like that line of thinking. I had been wondering about it myself, but you have articulated it better than I would have.

      Bernier has the "pedigree" (whatever that means.. I didn't realize we were breeding dogs or horses) that makes him attractive to other teams. He's been playing well. He would definitely bring back more in a trade than Reimer would.

      And it would be a relatively easy sell. As much as many fans have come to like Bernier, there is a fair bit of logic in hanging on to the player with a (at least relatively) proven track record over the one with plenty of potential that has been largely unfulfilled up to this point.

      I think both goalies are not only legitimate starters, but both upper echelon and maybe even the potential to reach elite status. I haven't seen much on the ice to suggest that there is much of a difference between the two. I have noticed a huge difference in attitude though, and I think that's what will make Reimer the better goalie at the end of the day.

      Your second last paragraph seems a little more conspiratorial than I would go for myself, but why not? It would make me happy!

    2. Like you, I would like to think Reimer still has a future here. It's just difficult to 'feel it' at the moment, InTimeFor62. That said, you make the case that the unexpected does happen. Thanks for sharing that.

  9. Hi Michael.
    Again another fine example of Randy trying to force a square peg in a round hole. James is a starting goal-tender. He will never succeed in the role of a back-up. It is neither in Reimer's skill set nor his competitive nature to do well as a back-up and no more his natural position than center was for JVR.
    I've gone past feeling angry and frustrated for Reimer and just feel very sad for him. Colleen

    1. Carlyle said after the game that, basically, they wanted to give the local guy a chance. That doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of belief in their goalie. It's clear Reimer can't operate effectively in this environment, and the odd start here and there really isn't the answer for an athlete who has worked to be a first-team netminder. Thanks Colleen.

  10. Michael,

    I do hope for Reimers' sake that he is made of stronger stuff than the people here are willing to give him credit for. He made it from the ECHL, to the AHL, the NHL, and then to being someone with a guaranteed one way contract. Thats the thing about life, if you're not always working to be better, the guy that is, well, he's going to pass you. The assumption that Reimer earned anything, is wrong. We can all come on this forum, and others and complain about the way he has been treated, say that it isn't fair. It's interesting to me as someone who doesn't care who the goalie is, as long as he is the best one for the job of winning the Cup. That is the goal, isn't it? Not to have the guy none of us knows, or likely have even met, but that we 'like' more in net. I have never heard anyone, say that Reimer is a better goalie than Bernier. Not sure if that is because we get caught up in who someone could be, or if its just because so few of us can be honest and say we want him to be the goalie.

    There is talk a plenty about Reimer's character, or how it is perceived, again, I'm sure none of you are hanging out with him, IRL. We discuss his compete level, as if it is some quantifiable thing that the other guy doesn't have. Funny to me that we mock the coach for having little else to say to his team than, compete, work harder, where's my toast? But when it comes to why Reimer is better than the other guy, nothing but hollow platitudes about unmeasurable sound nicey things. Or why we shouldn't have traded for Bernier, we owed Reimer something. Right now I'm incredibly glad that Nonis traded for Bernier. He seems by all measureable quantities, the better choice in goal. He is 8th in the league in SV%, Reimer 28th.

    I honestly can't believe that people feel sorry for Reimer. I find this to be particularly embarrassing. He is a 25 yr old professional athlete making $1.8 million in the final year of his 3 yr contract. He has a gorgeous wife, who apparently loves him dearly, and he is apparently healthy. I do hope our local charities will help him through this struggling time of desperate need. All of this because the team feels that it should dare to give Bernier slightly more than half the starts.

    Just a reminder to everyone, Dominik Hasek spent three years in the Blackhawks organization barely playing behind Ed Belfour. It turned out fine in the end for the Dominator. I don't remember any one throwing pity parties for him. Besides, even if Reimer was to be a backup goalie in Toronto for the rest of his career, from where I'm sitting, that kind of life seems pretty damn good.

    1. I don't think most Leaf followers are with me on this, and that's fine. It's not a question of feeling sorry for Reimer. I just believe the organization has handled this badly and should have moved Reimer from the get go. The current situation is not good for the team and not good for the player. When the Leafs signed Curtis Joseph, they moved Felix Potvin. It was the fair thing for all concerned. Same should have been done here, in my view. Thanks Jim.

    2. Hey Jim - I appreciate the value of a 'bottom line' kind of perspective that you bring to the mix in this discussion. I know there are many times in my Leaf fandom that all I cared about was having the best goalie in net (and 'surviving' the backup who was rarely 'as good').

      And, what I'm about to say has nothing to do with personal maturity or growth, rather just my own focus at this time in my life... I find myself interested in the stories of the players themselves much more than at other times when I only had time to focus on the games themselves. Given that focus, I am presently more attuned to some of the same concerns expressed by Michael regarding James Reimer.

      Before Bernier arrived, I had no qualms about moving forward with Reimer (after his recovery from the neck injury)... I felt we finally had a guy who has very quick feet and a compete level that inspires confidence in him and I perceive is appreciated in the room. He's kinda' like 'Rocky' for me, in that he will always work his hardest to be his best, yet he is now finding it harder to find his best in the current situation.

      I like Bernier, too, even if I see he has different areas to work on... that being his five hole and his ability to scramble (if necessary) after the first save (which I am happy to say, doesn't happen often because of his excellent rebound control - something that I think is beginning to be picked up by Reimer). Perhaps the best of both can begin to 'rub off' on the other and we will have developed 2 fine goaltenders as a result, nevertheless, I hope Reimer recovers his confidence and finds his game (even if the actual opportunities don't come along as often now).

      During the Winnipeg game, I could see that James is not on his game and understand why people are more confident with Bernier right now. James has become inconsistent as his playing time decreases. That, plus the situation, speak volumes about Reimer's devolution. I hope he can 'find his game' and the joy he brought to playing, even if his starts are diminished. I am hoping none but the best for a young man I respect and choose to empathize with... though I'm sure that it would be nice for me to have earned 1/3 of his 1 year salary by this stage of my life. If that's all I was looking at, I might find it harder to empathize, however, I prefer to meet people where they're at, and attempt to see the world and their situation as they see it. Of course, this is why my focus is placed upon areas beyond performance on the ice at this stage of my life.

      Also, thanks for the kind words Oliver T... you have captured the essence of my thinking providing further meat on the subject! Whether there is some kind of plan in place from the outset (which I actually doubt, highly) or that it is something that could be 'dawning upon' management as we move along and find out what Bernier brings to the mix (in the game and the locker room), it may well be that other possibilities are being considered regarding the goalie plans for the future.

      On a final note, I was surprised that Randy didn't pull James after the first 2 goals and gave him a chance to find his game. Though he responded til the 2nd two goals, I knew it was right to bring Bernier into the game at that point. Just felt badly that James couldn't pull it off and find his game (through the mocking of the Jet fans). I hope he finds what he needs and recovers his mojo :)

    3. Thanks, InTimeFor62. I often run the risk here of not only sounding like but becoming one of those old fans who always thinks things were better "in the old days". But you have captured something that seems to fit where I am at in my sporting life as well. That is that, while "winning" is obviously the objective when there is a team or player I root for, it also matters a great deal to me who I am cheering for.

      I like a team - and individual players - with grit and heart and who also respect there fans and appreciate their good fortune (even if they have worked hard, it is still a question of good fortune- lots of people "work hard") as professional athletes and celebrities.

      I just happen to find Reimer to be one of those individuals though I know others see him very differently.

      So while the Leafs winning is of course important, how they achieve success is important to me as well. Like-abolity matters to me, and that may not matter to most other sports fans, I don't know for sure. For me, part of what matters about the Leaf legacy is the character of the individual players who have been part of this franchise, people like Apps, Kennedy, Armstrong, Bower, Stanley, Keon, Sittler, etc.

      There are guys I could name in other sports who I think are great to root for, because they represent, at least in their public persona, something I simply like- much like Jean Beliveau did during and after his wonderful hockey career. Thanks, InTimeFor62.

    4. I'd find it hard to cheer for a team of Sean Avery(s) or Daniel Carcillo(s) - Sittler, Sundin, Spinner Spencer, and Reimer, on the other hand, absolutely!

      Speaking of Sundin (and your earlier observations about the joy on his face when his teammates succeed), did you notice the first guy up with a huge smile on his face after the Leafs 2nd goal was Reimer (yes, the commentators noticed, too, but I noticed that independently and feel it's appropriate to mention :).

      I've also noticed the same trait in Phil Kessel, who seems to expect himself to produce, but is genuinely excited when others succeed with him... maybe that's why the guys mention it's 'a good room'... and part of the reason I continue to cheer through the good and the bad. I find out what I like about the people and hold on for the benefit of the logo.

      To quote a wise man " it also matters a great deal to me who I am cheering for..."

    5. I have noticed that Kessel seems to be genuinely pleased when teammates do well- and that's a trait I like. Sundin was a great example of that. And yes, it was good to see Reimer respond as he did after that goal.

    6. I was going to go on a rant about Jim's original comment about the goalie situation and after reading Intimefor62 and your response Michael I just realized I don't care anymore. The numbers Bernier is posting this year are the same as Reimer posted last year. The Leafs are in about the same position as last year the only difference is we are watching one goalies career get derailed right in front of our eyes. I just don't care anymore. To my mind its to bad Reimer is such a good teammate and person because if he did what was right for him and his career he would ask for a trade. It will never get better for him here and the sooner he realizes it the better off he will be. Like you two said the whole likability factor is real and to me the Leafs are not a real likable team. Watching how Reimer has been treated has made me care less about the Leafs than I have for a long time. For the first time in decades I find myself not watching games and not particularly caring. This team seems to be always chasing its tail, always looking for some mythical next thing while never realizing what it has. I'm tired of defending Reimer, this team made its bed let it lie in it. I really just can't be bothered to care anymore. Reimer is my favourite player on the Leafs and maybe if I could see some huge improvement I wouldn't be so bitter. But I don't and frankly a team that has such little loyalty I just find hard to cheer for.

    7. You've captured a lot of my feeling about this whole situation, Willbur. My views on the Reimer fiasco go well beyond Reimer himself. It's what this organization seems to have become, from Leiweke on down. We hire bombastic guys who need to hype themselves. It's tiring. It was bad enough when it was our own owner, but at least he owned the team, I guess.

      We are not in the majority, it seems, but that doesn't really matter. Thanks Willbur.

    8. This kind of discussion is why VLM is the only place I have any desire to chat about my favourite team. I appreciate your thoughtful responses, I really do.

      I guess that how we look at the players, and the game that they play, is just different. I don't, and never have seen athletes as heroes. To me, my heroes have always been the people that I have had the privilege to be able to stand beside when it was time to be counted. I know that they are good and decent people, far removed from the hopeful nature of most of the talk around an athletes character.

      It has never been a concern of mine that athletes be good, or honest, or ascribe to any of these kinds of things. I watch them, and cheer for them, solely, for they can do things, I cannot. They have a specific set of skills, and abilities I enjoy watching. Nothing more, and nothing less. I can only imagine how disappointed I would be, to wake up one day and find another athlete has cheated, in the game, or on his wife, or in some other way. The level of faith that fans put into people they don't really know, is something I could never do.

      A long way of saying that we see things in different shades, even though the picture remains the same. Your assessment that I would take a crazed bunch of mercenaries who win, over a bunch of good people who lose, is true. I would, in a heartbeat, at least on the playing field, and not in my life.

    9. And that's fair, Jim. I think we all would agree we don't really "know" these people, that, as fans, the best we can do is guess or use our instincts about the kind of people they might be off the field of play.

      That said, I guess I tend to migrate toward athletes who seem, at least, to have certain attributes that I find admirable in any individual. For me it's not so much athletes being heroes, as that some may be (and again, we never really know) more authentic than most. Thanks Jim.

    10. I think it is fascinating that in the midst of many different personality types we are able to express our interests and concerns with decorum and respect. That, in large part, is due to the tone you set here, Michael, and that is why I feel comfortable and welcome to put my thoughts 'out there' for others to see. You are a fine example of respectful communication and I hope your 'Prospect's are going well :)

      I have learned that each personality type has strengths that are necessary and helpful in community... the areas where I am not strong are those which others bring to the table so that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts. I appreciate Jim knowing that he is primarily interested in the product on the ice, the skill and the bottom line on their performance. I would be surprised if Jim was not a leader, entrepreneur, willing to take a risk type of guy who brings the impetus to just 'get going'.

      Willbur strikes me as a guy who also cares about the players and the 'I just don't care anymore' perspective on Reimer sounds like a guy who just doesn't want to feel the frustration any more (hence, Michael's suggestion that an early trade would have been better for everyone, rather than watching James going through all this)... I think Willbur actually does care, it's just hard to marry the seemingly heartless business end of the game with the people side. Once the stressor is gone/ situation is 'resolved', the enjoyment will return.

      In my case, I'm an analyzer/problem solver, so I like to look at all these areas and wonder what will make the bottom line (lotsa' wins and a cup) possible from multiple perspectives... given my lack of personal interaction with any of the Leaf principals, I would never have enough information to make a difference to anyone other than advancing possible perspectives and I gain some of my enjoyment from looking at things the way I do. Ultimately, I want the guys to win (so there are points of contact with others) and (at the same time) I hope to like them while they're doing it!

      I grew up since players were my heroes, being long past expecting much beyond the ice surface, James Reimer just strikes me as a guy I can root for in life... the fact that he plays for my favourite team is just the icing on the cake!

    11. Thanks for the kind words, InTimeFor62. So many good people contribute here. It's far from the largest Leaf site around, and the number of reader comments is tiny compared with most other sites. But I love the interaction here and those who visit have made it special for me.

  11. As a hockey fan and more importantly as a Leafs fan I think both goalies are very different but very close in talent. I believe that Bernier hasn't proved he is ready for a starters workload and that Reimer hasn't been played nearly enough. If this had worked-if it ever could work-I'd be one happy camper.

    Speaking from " the other side of the fence" I have to beg patience when the "other side" jumps out suddenly for a romp. It's inevitable. Thanks guys. Colleen

  12. This seems like the appropriate forum to post my early observations tonight.

    1) What fantastic luck for Bernier after Franson made the terrible decision to pinch on the first power play rather than take a few steps back. The puck was kept out of the nets by the hockey gods, nothing to do with Bernier. (To be fair, if it had gone in he would have hardly been the one to blame. I'm just pointing out that it's been a rare evening when Reimer has had bounces like that)

    2) I know the camera only showed the first few paces of Bernier's skate the bench for the delayed call on Tampa's 2nd penalty, but it looked mighty lazy to me. Even though my pro days (or something like that!) are long gone, I still hustle to the bench for a delayed penalty during my beer league games. You never know when that extra half second will make a critical difference. At the very least I want to make sure it's not my fault if play is stopped early for an illegal substitution.

    That pretty much sums up the whole thing, doesn't it? Bad luck/circumstances for Reimer and questions about Bernier's attitude.