James Reimer

Reimer feels ‘doubted’ after Bernier trade

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The Toronto Maple Leafs have been actively trying to add a goaltender for quite some time now. On Sunday, they finally did so by acquiring 24-year-old Jonathan Bernier from the Los Angeles Kings.

Bernier has the potential to become a great number one goaltender, so it’s not hard to see why any team would want him. At the same time, incumbent starter James Reimer, 25, is coming off of a strong season and the easy conclusion to draw from this move is that they still didn’t feel comfortable enough in him to allow the old status quo to be maintained.

“It makes you feel a bit doubted as a goalie,” Reimer admitted to the Toronto Sun.

When asked who he was being doubted by, Reimer added, “Is it by the coaches? Is it by the GM? Is it by the media? You could drive yourself crazy asking yourself things like that.

“You just have to focus on what you can control and believe in yourself.”

Reimer said that he was surprised by the trade. He knew for a while that Toronto was looking to add a veteran, but to bring in someone roughly his age?

“Well, obviously they have their reasons,” he said.

The Maple Leafs likely wanted to hedge their bets rather than go all-in on Reimer, but this trade doesn’t necessarily mean Bernier will end up being the long-term starter in Toronto. As highly regarded as Bernier is, Reimer can’t be dismissed. He owns two of the top three single-season save percentages in Maple Leafs’ history.

“When I look back on it, there were times I could have played better,” Reimer said. “But I really feel I gave the guys a chance.

“Overall, I felt I played well this past season. I feel like I’ve established myself as a No. 1 goalie in this league.”

At the same time, he thinks the competition will make him a better goaltender.

Sometimes getting two talented goaltenders to compete for the top job ends up creating a controversy that can become a distraction, but when this kind of situation works, the team is richly rewarded for it.

Related:

Bernier embraces new challenge in Toronto

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.