TORONTO — The man who sparked the Toronto Maple Leafs to a November turnaround may be on the mend.
James Reimer left Tuesday’s practice about 30 minutes early after taking an awkward fall during drills. It wasn’t immediately clear what was wrong with the Leafs goaltender, who consulted with trainers at the bench before walking off.
With Toronto’s next game not coming until Saturday against the Washington Capitals, coach Mike Babcock didn’t seem too concerned about Reimer’s status.
“He left the ice — I didn’t check,” said Babcock. “We have a while until our next game. We’ll see. I don’t know if he overreacted, he underreacted, I don’t know nothing about it.”
Reimer has recently grabbed the Leafs’ No. 1 job from Jonathan Bernier, posting a 6-2-3 record and .949 save percentage while starting 11 of the past 12 games.
None of his teammates seemed to have any idea what happened to him during Tuesday’s practice.
“I wasn’t quite sure what was going on there,” said centre Nazem Kadri. “Was it an equipment issue or was it an injury? I’m not really sure.”
Should he be out for any period of time, it could open the door for Bernier to reassert himself. He recently missed time with a lower-body injury after struggling mightily at the end of last season and beginning of this one.
Bernier has been putting in extra work with goaltending coach Steve Briere over the last week — and the head coach has taken note.
“The bottom line is when it’s not going as good as you want you’ve got to get to work and you’ve got to fix it,” said Babcock. “Confidence is the biggest thing always and you’ve got earn the right to feel good about yourself.
“He’s a good goaltender, he’s been a goaltender and I’m sure he will be again.”
The Leafs are schedule to practice again on Wednesday afternoon.