Reimer Recalled, What Does The Future Hold For Toronto’s Goalies?

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Tough loss for the Leafs last night. (I’d be interested to see how many of my blog entries start with that sentence). Alexander Ovechkin had one of the grossest hat tricks in recent memory – first goal was clearly goalie interference, whacked home a loose rebound off a blocked shot, empty net goal – but the big story of the night was Braden Holtby, the Caps’ rookie goalie who came in and made 35 saves to keep the Leafs off the board for most of the night. Tim Brent was the only Leaf to beat the young netminder from Alberta, and he made some huge saves that really killed the Leafs’ momentum early in the 3rd.

On to more interesting news. The Evgeni Nabokov saga continues, as the Islanders continue to wait and see if the Russian veteran will report to the club. How this situation plays out could have a direct impact on the Leafs, as the trade rumors continue to swirl around J.S. Giguere, whose willingness to waive his no-movement clause was reiterated again this week. While I doubt the Red Wings (who initially signed Nabokov) would be interested in Giguere’s services, if the Isles are successful in keeping Nabokov, the only veteran netminders that will probably be available before the end of the season are Jiggy and Florida’s Tomas Vokoun. Obviously, Vokoun would be the more desirable option, but he’ll probably also command a higher price.

Adding fuel to the fire, James Reimer was recalled from the AHL after posting yet another shutout this weekend. It’s expected that he will start in Tampa Bay on Tuesday, as the Leafs won’t want to risk aggravating Giguere’s groin by starting him on back to back nights after the game in Carolina on Monday night.

Reimer’s callup could be indicative of a number of things. Unquestionably, it’s a bad sign for Jonas Gustavsson, who’s been miserable in his last few starts, allowing 11 goals against the Blues and Rangers. If his confidence was already in the shitter, this move should flush it right into the Toronto sewer system. For a much more respected opinion on the subject, here’s a piece from James Mirtle on the issue: What’s Really Wrong With Jonas Gustavsson?

Personally, I don’t feel that Gustavsson has been handled properly, and I can only hope it doesn’t end up ruining what could have been, and should still be, a very promising career. Something Mirtle references in the article, and I think is very evident given the differing styles between Gustavsson and both Giguere and Reimer is that goaltending coach Francois Allaire’s coaching technique differs greatly from that which Gustavsson grew up under in Sweden. Whatever the issue, the Monster will have some extra time to work out the kinks leading into the All-Star break.

On Reimer, it will be interesting to see what Burke’s endgame is. He looked fantastic in his first call-up, sparking a winning streak from the Buds. Is this second call-up just another chance for him to prove his game at the NHL level, or is it a preface to Jiggy possibly being moved, or an overall lack of confidence in Gustavsson’s abilities at the moment?

Stirring the pot today, as usual, was Eklund over at HockeyBuzz, who posted a tantalizing rumor intro earlier today. In it, he reported that he’ll be meeting with one of his more proven and reliable sources later today, and will ahve some major information on a number of teams, including our beloved Leafs. If that weren’t enough, he included the following quote:”There is a Western Conference team who is sitting on MONSTER of a deal. A deal which will force many others in the pack to make moves as well, or risk not making the playoffs. It is a deal with an Eastern team, currently out of the playoffs, which could also go on to define the Eastern Conference team’s future.”

Obviously, no specifics, as we’ve come to expect from the not-so-reliable HockeyBuzz, but Burke reportedly shopping both Francois Beauchemin and Mike Komisarek, and the current foggy situation around the Leafs’ net presence, it’s difficult not to be at least a little intrigued. Anyways, the Buds have the night off tonight before they travel first to Carolina and then Tampa Bay for their final two games before the All-Star break.