James Reimer

Leafs’ Reimer channels Burke, calls trade deadline ‘a huge distraction’


With the Toronto Maple Leafs reportedly kicking the tires on Miikka Kiprusoff and Roberto Luongo, some are wondering what toll this has taken on James Reimer.

On Tuesday, Toronto’s No. 1 netminder — for now, anyway — let folks know.

“Honestly, it is a distraction. I mean it’s a huge distraction,” Reimer told James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail. “To not be playing is almost a benefit.

“It’s not like it would ruin your play, but it is a distraction. So it’s just one more thing you have to keep off your mind.”

The Leafs are in the midst of one of their longest breaks of the season. They haven’t played since beating Ottawa 4-0 on Saturday, and won’t play against until Thursday, one day after the trade deadline.

For Reimer and backup Ben Scrivens, the stretch is probably a blessing and a curse.

Blessing, because the incessant rumors won’t affect their on-ice play — curse, because they can’t do anything but sit and wait for things to play out.

This isn’t the first time “trade deadline is a distraction” talk has popped up in Toronto, either.

Last year, former GM Brian Burke contemplated instituting his own personalized deadline prior to the actual deadline, in order to “save” his players from the rumors and scuttlebutt.

“It’s to the point where I’m debating doing the same thing I do at Christmas, starting our own trade freeze 10 days before, that’s how distracting it is,” Burke said at the time. “Clarke MacArthur has been traded 10 times. [Mikhail] Grabovski’s been traded 12 times. [Nikolai] Kulemin has been traded. Luke Schenn has been traded 50 times.

“I think it’s remarkable the players keep their focus.”

Of course, the Leafs didn’t keep their focus — they collapsed badly down the stretch and missed the playoffs — and, just for good measure, Burke traded Schenn for the 51st time at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

If there’s a silver lining for the Leafs, it’s that neither Reimer nor Scrivens have allowed the distraction to affect their play.

Reimer sits 13th in the NHL in save percentage (.920) and Scrivens ranks 18th, at .918.

The pair have also combined to hit the 20-win plateau, a feat only eight NHL teams have accomplished heading into Tuesday night’s action.

Of course: Ryan Suter wins it for Wild vs. ‘Hawks after those wild quotes

NBCSN screen

You know what they say: “What a difference a game makes.”

Even in the 82-game marathon that an NHL regular season is, that can be true.

Ryan Suter admitted he went too far with comments during tough times, yet there he was on Tuesday night, grinning ear-to-ear after scoring the 2-1 goal that ended up being the game-winner.

Heck, people were even joking about things. The healing powers of winning, right?

As of this writing, this win places Minnesota in the last wild card spot, and they’re close to elbowing in on the Chicago Blackhawks (who own a standings point advantage, but have played two more games so far in 2015-16).

Jeremy Roenick labels this 2-1 win as a “team win” for Minnesota, and it showed on that 2-1 goal, as the Wild showed off some picture-perfect passing and a willingness to crash the net for rebounds.

Let’s face it, though; Devan Dubnyk deserves plenty of credit, too.

It won’t be easy in the Central Division, and things may get heated again. Still, this is the sort of win that may just help Minnesota build up some confidence.

Hey look: Flyers reel off three straight wins for first time in 2015-16

Sean Couturier
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When you’re talking about bright sides, most people believe that they boil down to the light at the end of the tunnel for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy a little success in the present while waiting for that bright future, though.

The Flyers are providing at least a burst of sunshine lately, as Tuesday’s 4-2 win against the Ottawa Senators gives them … (drum roll) their first three-game winning streak of this season.

Joy abounded.

Even in recent darker moments, Philly’s been pretty impressive on offense, so Flyers fans are likely relieved to see a relative offensive outburst.

Sure, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns – Radko Gudas might have gotten himself into some trouble, for instance – yet this is still a nice sign of life for a team expected to finish in the draft lottery.

If that fails … hey, the future may require shades.

This own-goal captures the start of Dougie Hamilton’s Flames career

Dougie Hamilton
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Here’s an understatement: things haven’t gone very well for Dougie Hamilton early in his first season with the Calgary Flames.

(It must feel like the opposite of Tyler Seguin in Dallas for Boston Bruins fans, but feel free to disagree in the comments.)

You could look at Hamilton’s meager offensive stats and break down his disappointing work through a very of “fancy” and traditional metrics …

… Or you could just fire up a projector and show this own-goal on a loop.

Senators lose Michalek, Zibanejad to injuries vs. Flyers

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It remains to be seen if the Ottawa Senators can avoid losing against the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, but either way, it’s been a costly night.

The Senators saw two forwards leave the game with injuries, as Milan Michalek and Mika Zibanejad were banged up on Tuesday.

Michalek may have gotten hurt blocking a shot while a Radko Gudas hit on Zibanejad left the Senators forward with an upper-body injury.

Gudas may get a call from the league for his infractions.

Update: Michalek’s issue could be significant.

The Flyers ended up beating the Senators 4-2, so a tough night for Ottawa.