James Reimer #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a trapper save as Chris Neil #25 of the Ottawa Senators looks for the rebound during an NHL game at Scotiabank Place on March 17, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
(March 16, 2012 - Source: Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images North America)

Reimer will get the nod in Leafs’ home opener


Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier looked great in Toronto’s 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, but coach Randy Carlyle has decided to go back to James Reimer for the home opener against the Ottawa Senators tonight, according to TSN’s Jonas Siegel.

Reimer, who also won his first start, has historically dominated the Senators with a 8-1-1 record, 1.69 GAA, and .949 save percentage in 10 contests.

“It’s not 100 per cent based upon that, but I would tell you I’d be crazy if I didn’t look at it,” Carlyle said.

This is just the start of what’s likely to be a lengthy competition for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ starting gig. Reimer is coming off a largely successful campaign while Bernier is a very promising goaltender whose finally out from under Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick. Reimer and Bernier are both young and inked to short-term contracts.

They are projected to largely split the team’s starts unless one of them is able to firmly set himself apart from the other.


Kulemin breaks small ankle bone during practice

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.