James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs guards the net during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on March 17, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
(March 16, 2012 - Source: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

Reimer vs Bernier — Who ya got?


For the first time in what seems like a very long time, goaltending isn’t expected to be a weakness for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

With James Reimer, 25, and Jonathan Bernier, 24, between the pipes next season, the Leafs will have one netminder who boasted a .924 save percentage in 2013 (Reimer) and another (Bernier) who was only slightly less efficient, at .922.

In fact, new MLSE president Tim Leiweke believes the Leafs “have the best tandem of goalkeepers in the NHL.”

Still, questions remain.

Lots of questions.

Like: If Reimer had such a good year, why did the Leafs feel the need to give up forward Matt Frattin, backup Ben Scrivens and a second-round pick to get Bernier out of L.A., where he was stuck behind Jonathan Quick? Does management have something against Reimer, or does Bernier simply just increase the team’s odds of getting quality goaltending?

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

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

Another question: What has Bernier really proven? He’s only started 54 regular-season games in the NHL. He’s never felt the pressure that number ones feel at the highest level. He’s never started a playoff game. And when it comes to media scrutiny, Toronto is a tad more intense than Los Angeles.

When Bernier was acquired, Leafs general manager Dave Nonis suggested that the starting job was open for competition.

“Nothing is being guaranteed to anybody,” Nonis said, per the Toronto Star. “It’s a situation where we feel we’re deeper. We feel they both have great potential.

“We feel we have two of the top young goaltenders in the league right now. Both we feel have the potential to be solid No. 1s.”

And really, it’s hard to argue with that. Neither Reimer nor Bernier cost much in the way of cap hit; the former’s is $1.8 million next season, the latter’s $2.9 million. If one falters, that’s what the other is there for. If both play well, the Leafs have a nice trade chip to play down the road.

And if both falter? Well, there’s always that possibility. But then, that exists for every team. Goaltending is a tough thing to predict. Just look at the St. Louis Blues — they got fantastic performances from their netminders in 2011-12 (.929 save percentage); this past season, not so much (.902).

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

But he’ll have to re-establish himself in 2013-14, because there’s another guy now.

“I’ve been waiting for that, to get my chance,” Bernier said. “When you get your chance, you’ve got to take it.”

Related: It’s Toronto Maple Leafs on PHT

Kings GM says Mike Richards went into ‘a destructive spiral’

Mike Richards

The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.

Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.

Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.

“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”

Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:

  • He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
  • Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
  • The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.

… Yeah.

Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.

Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?

Coyotes exploit another lousy outing from Quick

Jonathan Quick

Despite owning two Stanley Cup rings, there are a healthy number of people who aren’t wild about Jonathan Quick.

Those people might feel validated through the Los Angeles Kings’ first two games, as he followed a rough loss to the San Jose Sharks with a true stinker against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

Sometimes a goalie has a bad night stats-wise, yet his team is as much to blame as anything else. You can probably pin this one on Quick, who allowed four goals on just 14 shots through the first two periods.

Things died down in the final frame, but let’s face it; slowing things down is absolutely the Coyotes’ design with a 4-1 lead (which ultimately resulted in a 4-1 win).


A soft 1-0 goal turned out to be a sign of things to come:

Many expected the Kings to roar into this second game after laying an egg in their opener. Instead, the Coyotes exploited Quick’s struggles for a confidence-booster, which included key prospect Max Domi scoring a goal and an assist.

It’s worth mentioning that Mike Smith looked downright fantastic at times, only drawing more attention to Quick’s struggles.


After a troubled summer and a failed 2014-15 season, Los Angeles was likely eager to start things off the right way.

Instead, they instead will likely focus on the fact that they merely dropped two (ugly) games.