PHILADELPHIA—It’ll be two weeks ago Monday that Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer strained a knee ligament in a 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. He hasn’t played in a game since.
So when the Leafs wrapped practice at the University of Pennsylvania on Sunday afternoon and the media inquired about the closeness of Reimer’s return, the usual guessing game commenced.
When, coach Randy Carlyle was asked, would Reimer be match-ready?
“He was better (Sunday) than he was the day before. So I would say he’s getting very close,” Carlyle said.
Like, close enough to bring his 6-3 win loss record into Monday night’s game agains the Flyers at Wells Fargo Center?
“I guess there’s always a chance,” Carlyle said, before breaking into a smile and a cackle.
When Reimer was asked when he’ll be back in the Toronto net, he was no more definitive.
“Hopefully sooner than later, but who knows?” he said.
Is it possible he could play on Monday?
“You never know,” he said.
“It’s going in the right direction,” Reimer said, “but it’ll still be a little bit, I guess.”
A little bit? As in, a little more than 24 hours? Reimer, to be fair, wasn’t being wilfully obstructionist. He went on to point out that how he feels the morning after a strenuous workout has become a tell-tale sign of his progress. In other words, if he wakes up feeling great on Monday, playing against the Flyers isn’t out of the question.
“It’s a ligament you need a lot in what you do (as a goaltender),” he said of the medial collateral variety. “There’s certain times when it just kind of flares up and kind of makes you stop what you’re doing. When that goes away, I should be ready to go.”
Two weeks after the Leafs said he’d be away a minimum of a week, they’re more than ready to have him back to stay.
Really don't get the point of this article but this is what stood out to me and proves dion's presence is a big one in the room.
Phaneuf, who played closer to 25 minutes a night in the previous couple of seasons, has often played solidly. But by any measure he has also played too much, especially given the compacted nature of the current 48-game grind. There are those who’ve wondered if he’s injured. But Phaneuf passed off an ice pack strapped to a shoulder Sunday as “maintenance.”
“Personally, I feel really good,” the captain said. “The biggest thing for me is getting my rest (outside the rink).”
Still, Gunnarsson made a point.
“Dion’s playing great,” he said. “But it’s time for a couple of the other guys to step up and take the load off him, for sure.”
Fellow D-man Cody Franson concurred.
“’Neuf, he plays a big role every night. He plays a lot of big minutes against the other team’s top line,” Franson said. “If we can help him out by going out and playing solid, going out and taking a few shifts against (the opposing top line) it’ll help him keep his energy level up.”