Four reasons to love the Maple Leafs’ James Reimer

Four reasons to love the Maple Leafs’ James Reimer

James Reimer in net against the L.A. Kings (Image: Bridget Samuels)

Toronto Maple Leafs rookie goalie James Reimer probably had his worst game in in his short NHL career on Saturday night, getting absolutely shelled in a 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. But in the wake of the lopsided defeat, Reimer reminded us why we love him so: unlike many of his blue and white brethren, he took full responsibility for his subpar performance. Buffalo beat him up and he, in turn, beat himself up, offering no excuses and oathing to do better next time. With that in mind, here’s a short list of the reasons we think Reimer’s so rad.

1. He takes responsibility
Reimer went from his first career shutout in one game to getting yanked in the next. But following the loss he wasn’t gloomy or grumpy. Instead, he was contrite, polite and professional. “I didn’t make enough saves. I didn’t pull my weight,” he said in the post-game scrum. “I need to make big saves, that’s what I want to do.”

2. He has a great attitude
Reimer believes it’s his job to keep every puck out of the back of the net. When he says he needs to make big saves, he means he needs to make every save. For a 22-year old in his first season in the big leagues, he already says all the right things.

3. He has a great story
He grew up in the small town of Morweena, Manitoba (population 130) and had to drive 15 minutes to nearby Arborg (population 1200) to take part in an organized league. He played most of his hockey, however, in his uncle’s backyard, assuming the role of target when his older brother needed a little shooting practice. It’s the classic Canadian hockey tale, straight off the five-dollar bill.

4. He’s damn good at what he does
Reimer entered Saturday’s night affair with a 5-3-0 record, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage. Had he played enough games, he’d be second in the league in the latter two categories. Not too shabby for a netminder who wasn’t even in the conversation when the season started.  

• Leafs lose in Buffalo for seventh straight time [Toronto Star]
• Sabres’ onslaught too much for Leafs [National Post]