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Reimer was not "lights out" as you put it! A goaltender with this monicker is a marquis player, which James Reimer is not nir will he EVER be! This insanity just refuses to stop regardless of how gigantic the writing on the wall so clearly is in Toronto. If Leafs management truly believed to any measurable extent that Reimer was THE guy going forward in net, Nonis would NEVER have made this deal (reportedly in the works for several months, further exemplifying the team's utter lack of confidence in the unfathomably over-rated James Reimer. Further to this point, if Nonis perceived Reimer as the Leafs "goalie of the future", he would never have brought in a young and relatively inexperienced wonderkin like Bernier; rather he would have in all likelihood brought in an inexpensive aging veteran near the end of his career to back-up and mentor Reimer. Make no mistake, Bernier did NOT leave LA to "back-up" ANYONE; certainly NOT James Reimer with his vast array of flaws and glaring weaknesses. Reimer, for all of his ostensibly impressive yet mis-leading stats is not niw nor will he EVER be #1 material. He goes down too eatly on almost EVERY shot (often well before the shot is fired), he plays too far back in his net, rarely challenges shooters and usually fails when he does possesses a truly TERRIBLE glove, has slow reflexes, poor judgement, panicks under pressure, has sub-par lateral movement, gets beaten 5-hole pretty much nightly as he lacks the rudimentary skill set and hockey sense to PUT HIS STICK ON THE ICE when he crouches into a butterfly stance (the few times he actually has thought to get his stick on the ice to block the five-hole, he angles it into a puck-ramp), he is attrocious at handling the puck (particularly behind the net), giving the disc away on a regular basis and most disturbingly of all, he gives up rebound after rebound right out in front or into the slot as opposed to directing them into the corner (see Tuuka Rask, Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundquist, and the Leaf's new #1, Jonathan Bernier). Unlike Reimer, Bernier possesses incredible lateral movement, has a terrific glove, controls his rebounds effectively, handles the puck extremely well and most importantly, CONTROLS HIS REBOUNDS, giving up considerably fewer of them. The other enormously encouraging benefit of Bernier as the new starter is that the team will no longer have to radically alter their overall defemsive system in order to accomodate it's unreliable backstop. With Reimer, Randy Carlyle was forced to impliment a "collapse down low" system to clog up the shooting lanes and clear away Reimers endless array of dangerous rebounds, thusly leaving the points uncovered and unmanned (an obvious adjustment that seemed to completely elude a surprisingly frustrated Don Cherry!). Once Boston woke up and stopped taking the far inferior Leafs for granted, they soon took full advantage of this shortfall and began cycling the puck at will. Once the Leafs started to react to this, Reimer was left to his own devices. Result? A three goal lead evapirates late in the 3rd period of game 7 and the Leafs are defeated.
The most puzzling and infuriating aspect of that entire series was the COMPLETE lack of criticism of Reimer. In game 3, he surrenders 3 terrible goals in the 2nd period yet they don't even mention his name during the intermission?? Then he gets beaten point blank for the OT winner in game 4 to put the Leafs 3-1 in the series, but "he had no chance" on the shot?? Instead they villify Phaneuf for pinching and falling down which led to the scoring opportunity ad though it's his fault that Reimer failed to do what he's EXPECTED to do; STOP THE PUCK! Isn't that his job? Isn't the goaltender supposed to be the last line of defense??, Even in the aftermath of that fateful series, fingers of blame get pointed in literally EVERY direction EXCEPT the net! How can a goalie surrender 4 unanswered goals late in a Game 7 , two of which came lesd than a minute apart, including the series winner in OT to blow a late 3 goal lead when it lapppeared that his team had the series all but wrapped up and not be held even partially to blame?? BRUTAL!!
Notwithstanding my lengthy digression, the Leafs (thankfully) havr a new and clear-cut number one netminder who will prove both in short order and for years to come that he's the real deal and a franchise goaltender. I know many of you will be inclined to retort with Reimer's stats, but even those are largely artificial and misleading as the vast majority of rebounded saves he made were off of low percentage shots from the point, a direct result of the "collapse down low" defensive philosophy mentioned earlier.
Don't fret Leaf fans; the Bernier acquisition is the best thing to happen to the team in decades! You don't have to believe me; tine will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt why this guy more than deserved to be the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2006 entry draft!
As for James Reimer, he can finally become what he was always destined to be; a serviceable back-up (hopefully on another team!).
1 year, 8 months ago on <!--:en-->Bernier the Boats<!--:-->