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Leafs don’t shoot, but win against the Devils anyway

Well, for one night at least, the Devils must have felt a bit like the Leafs have for the past almost two decades when they faced New Jersey and Martin Brodeur was on his game.  James Reimer was at his best and that, combined with a post here or there and some faulty Devils marksmanship, was enough for the Leafs to sneak past a hard-working but snake-bit opponent.

We all feel that past-times likes hockey take a back seat after awful events like those last year in Newtown and what happened yesterday in Boston,  and I will aim to keep this short today.

I’ll just state the obvious—Reimer was awfully good.  For me, I’m pleased for a lot of reasons, but it’s nice to see that I was not far off-base when I've said since the end of last season and during the summer (and extended off-season) that I believed Reimer could be what he had been before his injury. That he is such an engaging, genuine young man makes his current success all the more fun for fans like myself. (His thank you to fans at the end of his on-ice interview after the game was a nice touch, too…)

For those who wanted to see a clear-cut case of Reimer ‘stealing’ a game, well, that was textbook.  Teams that have serious playoff aspirations sometimes have to find ways to win games they otherwise shouldn’t.  We can analyze it many different ways, but the Leafs won- whether they “deserved” it or not.   We can attribute it to luck, Reimer, the Devils being lousy, the stars, whatever, but they got two points.

Of course, we all noticed that the Leafs didn’t exactly spend a lot of time in the Jersey zone Monday night, but as they say in soccer, all it takes is one shot sometimes, and Kessel’s snipe on a third period power-play did the trick for the Leafs.

The low shot-total formula is not one they will want to follow forever, obviously, (Foster Hewitt used to say, "He shoots, he scores..." not..."He doesn't shoot, he scores...") but they continue to be in virtually every game, and are winning, though some nights it defies what we see with our eyes.  I think they’re winning with some good fortune, for sure, but a lot of guys are working pretty hard.  Kulemin, as many have noted here, has been in evidence and in my mind there has been extra effort on his part lately.  Maybe I missed it earlier in the season?  Or is he in fact playing a bit better?

Kessel’s shots are going in, that always helps.  McClement was on the ice in the dying seconds to salt the game away.  Fraser was tough in front of the Leaf net.  (What is he, still plus 17 or so on the season?) James van Riemsdyk won the draw that led to Kessel’s winner—set up calmly by Franson, who continues to put up points from the back end.

I won’t go through the entire roster, but lots of people contributed. And that’s the way it’s been all season. The team was not at its best, but Reimer was.

Here’s my question for the day, however.  With Gunner somewhat injured and sitting upstairs on Monday night along with Kostka, who are the “core six” defensemen you’d like the Leafs to go with come playoff time?  The blue and white have won with just about every combination of six guys on the blueline this season, but fans usually have their favourites...players they are most comfortable with when the going gets tough—and it will be tough when the puck drops in the playoffs and the first series wears on.

O’Byrne did not distinguish himself with three penalties against New Jersey, but his physical presence may make him a possible inclusion depending on the first round opponent.  Do you want to see Gardiner, Phaneuf, Fraser and Franson for sure?  Does Gunner (if healthy) have to be in for you?  Who else makes the cut, in your mind?  Someone will have to sit.

I recall writing here when Gardiner was a regular healthy scratch that they were winning without him, but also that he would likely be back in the lineup this season and the Leafs would need him at some point.  I was not certain it would be this soon but I would imagine he will now cement his slot in the lineup going forward. That said, Carlyle has been trying a lot of different things this season, so nothing is cast in stone, in I guess.

What say you?


  1. With all the minutes that Gardiner got last game, I was not surprised to see him with Dion tonight. I think they knew Gunnar would need some rest and rehab down the stretch run and that the potential for some breakout options from Jake made tonight a good choice to get him back in the lineup.

    At this point (despite the 3 penalties) I'm liking how Ryan O'Byrne's game matches what Carlyle wants to see... so I'm liking tonight's 6 plus Gunnar as a moving rotation for the playoffs. I'm much happier with the way Gardiner is starting to 'take away time and space' using the body more effectively while still using his offensive potential a bit more selectively.

    I think a more rested Gunnar will be a staple in the playoffs with Gardiner rotating in with Liles who seemed to play well coming back after a game off... I guess my answer is more like 7 guys... but there you have it!

    As I watched the game I realized we were witnessing a robbery of notable proportion from a guy most don't expect to be known for theft (literally OR figuratively)! The other standout for me was Cody Franson with 9 (?) hits - many of them of the epic/exclamation point variety.

    Sure hope he keeps that part of his game, cause he could be a talented beast on the back end as we move off into an exciting future.

    We didn't really deserve this win, but we surely found a way! Lotsa bending without breaking tonight...

  2. You make a good point about Gunner, InTimeFor62. It's likely he has been playing through an injury most if not all of this season. He needs some maintenance and may not be able to handle a huge workload in the playoffs. But guys do some pretty gutsy things at that time of year, so we'll see.

    You cheated just a bit on my question, but that's OK!

  3. Well I've been saying it for a while now abut Reimer. This reminded me of the Boston games from earlier. One was 1 1-0 loss the other was the win both games were Reimer playing very well. Can we all agree now he is a legit number one goalie and that he is a large reason why the Leafs are winning?

    I think O'Byrne is the seventh dman in my opinion. He kinda has mobility issues to my mind which leads to three minors. I know one was for shooting the puck over the net but that was because he was to slow to retieve the puck and was under pressure. To Me I would like to see


    They are all mobile (except Fraser) and can make a first pass. I like this group moving forward. I can't wait till next year when Reilly is part of this group. Boy the back end is going to be good. Maybe some evidence that Burke wasn't blowing smoke when ha said he likes to build from the back out?

  4. You were right. I was wrong. Reimer is indeed the real deal. He straight-up stole us the game. And that's on top of just outplaying Price and King Lanquist and pretty-much every 'elite' goaltender he had been put opposite to this season. Wow! Just like Kadri was starting to look like Gilmour a few weeks ago, now it's becoming hard to tell if it isn't Potven or CuJo out there shutting the door on all kinds of offence coming at us.

    Not to take away from Reimer's performance but we should recognize that the guys in front of him have done an amazing job clearing rebounds and bodies in front of him, not to mention the many and colossal hits that are these days coming from everyone it seems. Orr's clearing of a Devil's forward heading for the rebound at some point in the second stands out in my mind as a perfect example of what I'm talking about here. You just gotta love that guy's commitment and perseverence. The same can be said for Grabovski whom I've noticed winning battles on the boards and getting the puck away from danger zones all night tonight. And Franson with 10 hits?! Is this the same guy who was routinely being run around and over last season and had to sit in the press-box and watch games? Gardiner's been nothing short of spectacular defensively in the last two games. If our defence plays this way in the playoffs (minus O'Byrne's 3 senseless penalties) we may well win the Cup.

    But to expect this kind of defensive effort every night would in fact be a little too much to hope for. In fact it is the defense, I think, where the Leafs are the thinnest. Other than the captain (and can we just take a moment to reflect on how solid he'd been for us this season and in fact over the years?) we don't have a well-rounded, reliable defenceman. Gunnar's been making some pretty glaring mistakes lately (probably due to injury), we watched Gardiner get outplayed in his own end his first game back from the purgatory, Holtzer and Kostka are clearly not quite there yet, Liles is ok when he's healthy but he's often broken and he's just too small to really shut-down power-forwards etc. All in all, I feel that, while our forwards are second to none and our netminding is finally becoming elite, our defense leaves something to be desired.

    Having said that I am hoping that the depth (and Carlyle's 'system') can compensate for the lack of individual talent and experience and it is this depth that will be our strength if and when defencemen start getting taken out/worn down down the stretch and in the playoffs.

    So, to answer your question in the not-so-direct way I'd have to say that I'm glad that Burke and Nonis have afforded Carlyle the luxury of having the choice to mix and match his defencemen according to whatever may come our way. Phaneuf will do what he does night in and night out, Fraser and Franson are a very decent 3rd pairing and from there on Gardiner and Liles are interchangable, Kostka and Holtzer can stand-in for Gunnar if needed, Komisarek can play in place of O'Byrne if need be and the Marllies are full of young prospects that can be brought up and surprise if absolutely necessary. All is well in the Leafland.

    Sorry for the long post but I haven't been posting in a while so here I am compensating for it now. I love your posts Michael - you seem to really have the pulse on the Leafsnation like noone else and the podcasts just keep getting better - you should quit your day-job and do one every day!

  5. I would love to see a top 6 of:
    Gardiner - Phaneuf
    Gunnar - Franson
    Fraser/Liles - O'Byrne/Kostka
    spreading out the wealth for 5v5 play and allowing Phaneuf to continue playing heavy special teams minutes.

    I also would not be opposed to playing 7 defensemen and 11 forwards during the playoffs, especially at the cost of one of Orr/McLaren

  6. Those projected defense pairings make sense, Willbur. Of course, as we both know, the moment we "plan" (not like we have any influence!) a certain approach, injuries, sloppy play or whatever changes everything up again.

    But I (and lots of other people) often talk about having to be 10-deep on the blueline once you hit the playoffs and the Leafs are. I'm not saying we have 10 Norris winners, but 10 guys who have played at times pretty well in the NHL. That can help take us a ways. We'll see.

    Thanks Willbur! I'm getting excited at the idea of playoff action in Leaf world....

  7. You're right, leafdreamer, we can indeed mix and match at this point. In that regard I credit Carlyle quite a bit. As I've said here a lot the past few weeks, this has been a year to "experiment" for the coach, while still trying to win every night., He has given lots of guys a chance to play in different spots and situations, all the while assessing what they can (and can't) do.

    So now, on the cusp of playoff action, he no doubt has a very good handle on the roles and responsibilities his guys can manage- including our defense corps, which, as you mentioned, has a lot of individuals who can move in and out of the lineup without missing a beat, it seems.

    Thanks leafdreamer- and for the kind words about the site. Not everyone agrees with my perspective, I realize, but I try to provide a forum where we can discuss, debate- and do so hopefully in a respectful, enjoyable manner.

  8. Interesting that you would split up Fraser and Franson, but I think I see what you're thinking, MDavies. And you're no doubt correct, Carlyle will continue to rely on Phaneuf on special teams. Thanks for chiming in.

  9. Watching last night I don't think Gardiner is ready to play "Phaneuf" minutes (i.e. against the opposition's best).

    Going into the playoffs I would like to see
    Phaneuf - Gunnar (if healthy)
    Fraser - Franson
    Gardiner - O'Byrne

    Each pairing should have the ability to transition to offense if the opportunity presents itself.

  10. Interesting, apollo678. I normally think of Gardiner as being able to play all night, because he doesn't usually seem fatigued. That said, I understand your point. Playoff hockey is generally much edgier, grittier and very physically demanding on defensemen. Whether Jake is ready for big minutes...I guess we'll find out soon. Thanks apollo678.

  11. Hi Michael,

    As good as I feel with where the Leafs are at these days, I am not yet completely moved by these superficial wins and I am sure the coaching staff is aware as well. That said, it should be noted that the Leafs are in transition and can't be expected to be perfect in every aspect of the game and I am mindful of continual improvement and am enjoying it while the going is good.

    Last night was another example of where work still is required if they are to be part of the Elites. Giveaways are still problematic but the ramification is much much less damaging, thanks to the good to great goaltending this season. We speak ad nauseum about how good goaltending would allow more confidence throughout the team and the cliche is definitely there.

    It has been a revelation how this team has slowly started to form. There is something to be said about depth and I would really like to see this team have the mentality that every line can contribute on every shift. This is how teams like Boston wins on a consistent basis. Although the talent is there the mental part still needs a little work. Objectively, this team have legitimate lines that can score at any given time and I am hoping that they can discover this factors when the playoff starts.

    Back from the deviation and in tying into your question, there are legitimate guys that are your core. I am not sure there is 6 core guys. The obvious are Phaneuf, Franson, and Fraser. These 3 guys are a lock. The rest is interchangeable on a given night and health reasons. I give Obyrne slight physical and experience advantage while Kotsa has mobility advantage. Gunner is Gunner. Predictable and eats up invisible minutes most of the night which is a good thing. Depending on health, Gunner would be a fix in my book. Gardner and Liles plays similar game. While I like them both, I am not sure the benefit having them both in the line up every night. Looking for balance and this might be a crazy suggestion but I would dress 7D with Gardner being flexible for upfront duty replacing of of McClaren or Orr. You can never have enough D in the playoffs.



  12. Strong post, as usual, Lukas.

    I acknowledge that some of the wins have come against teams that are not very strong, and even then, some nights, the Leafs have not been firing on many cylinders. But we can all see there is more to this than just luck, or very good goaltending - though that is obviously important for any good team.

    These guys seem to enjoy playing together, as I have said here for a while. Whether we can call that "chemistry" or not, I don't know, but it can help take a team a long way. The East is there for the taking. As I keep saying, there are no unbeatable teams. And the Leafs do have balance throughout the lineup. Not a ton of game-breakers, but if Lupul returns, we have guys who can score, those who can hit, some who annoy the opposition, offense from the back end..a bit of everything.

    Your breakdown of the blue line is reasonable, Lukas. I do wonder if Carlyle would consider going with 7 "D" in case of an early-game injury once the playoffs are here. Thanks Lukas.

  13. Thanks Michael.

    In addition:

    As bad as Obyrne played last night with the penalties (not a bad game overall), I think this is a guy that will be one of the unsung heroes if the leafs go deep into the playoff. I see him as a very safe basic guy that has the physical side that will allow the bend but not break approach. A physical guy that will clear the front of the net and will allow only outside shots. He is definitely not fast but will be positionally strong that the speed will unlikely affect him much. I think a lot of us will be pleasantly surprised by this acquisition.


    Tonight's game will be very interesting. I am looking forward to it as I really think Washington will surprise a lot of people.

  14. If O'Byrne can play the game you describe without the penalties, that would be a plus, for sure, Lukas.

    Hard not to notice the Capitals these days, agreed. I was saying to Matteo on a recent "Leaf Matters" podcast that they may be the one team that you don't want to play, because they have gotten hot at a good time (if they can keep it up...) after that awful start.

  15. Going in to the playoffs I think our D should be somethiong like this:
    (Assuming everyone is healthy and ready to go)

    Phaneuf - Gunner
    Fraser - Franson
    Liles - Gardiner/O'Byrne

    It looks like the right guys are getting their games together at the right time. Kessel is getting "his kind" of goals (the snipe type), Reimer seems to be in the zone, and I just loved Franson's agressiveness (almost nastiness) last night. That type of play just makes a better D-man. If Lupul comes back the way he did last time, the Leafs could do something interesting in the playoffs.

  16. I guess we should 'curb our enthusiasm' and temper our optimism a bit, portuguese leaf, but it's been a while since we've been near the playoffs so I have no problem if we Leaf fans choose to look at a half full glass!

    The playoffs may hit us with some reality (roster flaws are usually exposed at that time of year...) but on the other hand, why can't the Leafs compete?

    I'm glad they have rested Gunner. Maintenance is crucial. Thanks portuguese leaf.

  17. I agree with those who say Phaneuf, Fraser and Franson are a lock. The latter pair work so well as a team, I'd leave them alone. Franson alluded to that last night - talking about how they'd learned to read each other... and how Fraser's physicality has rubbed off on Franson. He definitely has started laying out some serious hits. I've been a Phaneuf supporter all year - never understood the knocks he's had to take. If he and Gardiner can find some chemistry, they could be a great pair. But, despite some noticeable improvement in his body positioning in the last couple of games, Jake still has some hesitancy and a tendency to overplay the puck. Not promising in a playoff environment. For that reason, I like Gunnar (if he's healthy) as Phaneuf's partner. I think he's more dependable in the long run. I also like O'Byrne's physicality. I'd pair him with Liles, both for their familiarity with each other's play, and Liles' experience. Gardiner would definitely be an alternate... but I guess I'm still one of the only ones who isn't sold on him enough to put him in a playoff game.

  18. I'm probably one of those that hasn't been entirely fair to the captain, Gerund O'. I'll be happy to be proven wrong if his good work continues in the playoffs.

    I like that Fraser can be physical but not dirty. He is the kind of player whose approach I admire. And I agree, he and Franson have emerged as a generally trustworthy duo, and Franson's physical play has developed as well.

    I don't think you're off-base when it comes to Gardiner. People who follow this site know I have been saying since last season that the real proof will be how he can handle playoff hockey. We know he is a calm guy on the ice with great legs, but I just want to make sure he can be good in that environment.

    Once again, we'll see! Thanks Gerund.

  19. I am beginning to sense some sycophantic behavior from the news media lately, which is particularly noticeable with regard to the spin being concocted around the Nonis team’s failed attempt to acquire a veteran goaltender. You noted this in a recent post Michael, in which there appeared to have been a disingenuous spin that the Leaf’s brass had actually shown faith in Reimer when Calgary’s Kiprusoff turned them down. Unfortunately, because you never named the writer or the article, I was not able to see it firsthand. However, from your description, the intent appears to be clear – to mask managerial incompetence by placing an improbable spin on what actually happened. Instead of the obvious truth that Nonis tried to replace Reimer for the stretch run, playoffs and beyond – he was (in this fictional rendition) showing confidence in young Reimer.

    A headline with a similar intent appears in an article by Michael Traikos, “James Reimer continues to prove Leafs made the right choice”. Now, what is really compelling is that Traikos does not appear to be saying that in his article at all. In fact, the article demonstrates good journalistic accuracy, that Nonis attempted to replace Reimer and, for now at least, that the failed attempt was the most fortuitous result possible. Consequently, it appears unlikely that Traikos wrote the headline, one which seems more like a propaganda push than any attempt at accuracy. I mean, we all know the real story. Nonis and his team made a decision to tinker with their goaltending and failed because Kiprusoff rejected them and Gillis continued to make unreasonable trade demands. I think that you spotted something in the previous article Michael, an attempt at an improbable spin on what actually happened that is continuing up to today. Sometimes these behaviours from editors can be unconscious as they somnolently seek to further corporate agendas and coherence – in this case to make failed incompetence appear to be intelligent design.

    I feel that it is, in part, our job to keep a lid on this type of propaganda, mainly because we do not want management to destroy the team’s chances. I mean, we have seen the patterns so many times over the years that this near self-sabotage on the goaltending front became pretty easy to spot. Management has to know that they have blundered. They should not be mollycoddled by the media into believing delusions espoused in these newspaper headlines and articles. Of course, the great irony is that Nonis appears to be eliciting much more obedience than his bellicose and confrontational predecessor. Does the difference lay in contrasting communications styles? Personally, I suspect that the media compliance also has to do with a winning record and the consolidation of power in the form of a giant media conglomerate.

  20. Reimer wins, so does his team. I mean 2 regulation time losses in 20 games? Outrageous. It drives the stats nerds and Carlye haters crazy. It amuses me to no end.

    I am a big Jake fan but wow he is dangerous in his own end. I think the world of his skills and potential but need to ask myself, if I am the goalie who do I want clearing the front of the net, who do I want tying up the opposition, wearing out the opposition in my own end, Jake or Fraser? Though I am no Fraser flag-waver I just wonder who the goalie is better off with when the puck is in his end. Hopefully in a couple of years this will be a silly question, a no-brainer. For now if I am Reimer when I go to bed each night it is Jake that keeps me awake. Well O'Byrne as well. No actually, O'Byrne brings on night terrors!

    Still Carlye needs to give Gardiner plenty of ice time the next few games. Toronto desperately needs his puck moving skills and the only way he will stop terrorizing his own goalie will be to learn his way out of it. 23 + minutes per game until we hit the playoffs for Jake. Honestly I don't think he is there yet when it comes to how much more rough and tumble playoff games are. Don't forget the Rangers turned the exceptionally talented, but contact shy and defensively erratic, Eric Karlsson into a complete non-factor in last year's playoffs. One point in 7 games and countless giveaways.

    Not sure that it is Jake's time yet particularly given all coaches want to win today, especially in the playoffs. Leafs fans may have to wait before Gardiner shows up in a meaningful way for playoff games.

  21. For sure everyone is enthused by the team and going to the playoffs, but in no way was I saying that we could win the cup this year or even the conference, when I said the Leafs could do something interesting in the playoffs, what I meant was win the first round. After all these years of early golfing, wouldn't that be above expectations? That kind of playoff experience would come in very handy to build on next year.

  22. You make a very good point, Bobby C., that headlines are usually crafted by a different person than the journalist who penned the piece. I probably should have noted the writer in my previous column- I believe (from memory) that it was Jeff Blair at the Globe. In fairness, as I think I cited at the time, I did not read the piece. I simply wanted to explore the myth behind the headline.

    Yes, I think Nonis lucked into this one, and Reimer has shown some mettle in responding as he has to what he could well have seen as a slap in the face. (Having said this, watch Leaf world if Reimer struggles in the playoffs...his various flaws will be highlighted over and over; it's what we fans do....)

    Enjoyed every bit of that post, Bobby, thank you.

  23. I guess that's the question we will be waiting for an answer on, Bmaximus: can Jake play the playoff game? I've been writing about that for seemingly a long time, because we all see the rest of his skill set and smarts, composure, etc.

    I think maybe he can, but the proof is in the pudding. Fair point on Karlsson. Rangers were a gritty bunch last year. Even 'soft' teams play with more of an edge and finish their checks in the spring. Defensemen bear the brunt of that.

    You may have hit the nail on the time for Jake down the stretch, as Carlyle continues to experiment with what he has - and needs - come Round One.

    Thanks Bmaximus.

  24. I understood you well, portuguese leaf. I think you are being entirely realistic. I agree, the experience will be invaluable. And hey, why can't we dream? I keep saying: no one is unbeatable in the East.....

  25. OK. I have read the article by Jeff Blair now, and once again, the problem is more with the headline not the editorial slant of the article. While I do not necessarily agree with Blair’s opinion: “Good on general manager Dave Nonis for his nothing ventured, nothing gained approach, and for drawing the line on the demands by Gillis, the Vancouver Canucks’ general manager”, it’s a fair enough editorial position. (My disagreement is that Nonis wasted valuable time on a dangerously foolish pursuit when he could have been exploring actual needs and benefits.)

    Personally, I do not care much about Leaf Nations’ response if the Leaf’s struggle defensively in the playoffs. Clearly, most of us were not able to evaluate the team’s potential at the beginning of the year, so any presumptions that Luongo or Kiprusoff would solve imagined failings of Reimer and Scrivens in the playoffs seems a metaphysical stretch at best. No, I think it best to stick with reality and truth, have the media play its proper role as critic and not management cheerleader.

    It’s pretty clear that Kirpusoff wanted nothing to do with us and Gillis’ asking price was too high. For headlines to give Nonis credit for those hard cold realities seems a stretch, particularly when he was on a mission to replace Reimer and Scrivens. Spin like this looks like obsequious behavior on the sports media’s part, which in my opinion is a problem. If the team is to advance it is critical that we do not act as complacent toadies. An important element of this, both on the part of the mainstream and alternative media is to keep management’s feet to the fire. Unfortunately, pandering disingenuous headlines like the ones cited have the opposite effect.

  26. Well said, Bobby.

    I'm pleased the Leafs have what they have in goal. Dance with the one you took to the dance, I say.

    Thanks Bobby.

  27. As for the whole showing faith thing, I really think it all depends on how you look at it. To me it is never a bad thing to look at improving your team. Secondly, we have no idea how hard the Leafs pursued Luongo. I suspect that the discusions were driven by Vancouver far more than by Toronto. To be a little objective about it the Canucks were more or less giving Luongo away for nothing. The final asking price was a second and third round draft choice and a backup goalie. That is an absurdly low price for a guy who has been amongst the elite for the better part of 6 years and is still considered by many in the hockey world to be in the top 5. Yet, Toronto still said no. They must have had some faith that Reimer could get the job done because if they had no faith at all they would have taken the deal. I'm not saying that the Leaf management didn't think Luongo was better than Reimer, clearly you would have been and still would be hard pressed to find someone in the hockey world that took that posistion. What I am saying is that they didn't feel the need to upgrade at goal at any cost which means they must have some faith that Reimer could handle the load.

    As for Kiprusoff, Nonis himself stated that he wasn't coming in to be number one but more of an insurance policy if Reimer struggled in the playoffs. The attractive fact about the Kipper deal according to Nonis himself was that niether goalie was going to be in the trade going back. I really fail to see the what the big deal was myself.

    As for wasting time on this deal to the detriment of other deals how can any of us possibly know what happened in the Leafs trade room? None of us was there and none of it has been made public to my knowledge. The other fact is that the Leafs have an entire management team and I'm sure they could delegate other potential moves to the rest of management.

    As of right now the non-deal is looking very good and I think you could find people that would state right now that Reimer is playing better than Luongo. I don't think this trade is ever going to happen now. In my humble opinion Reimer should be one the three finalists for the Vezina trophy. I'm not saying he is a slam dunk winner but he should be in the mix to my mind. Then again I have always been a big Reimer fan and felt that even last year was just a blip and due more to injury so I might not be the most objective guy out there.

  28. I think most of us would agree that GM's are always looking to improve their roster, without harming chemistry, etc. Nonis or any other GM has the right to look for upgrades. I guess, to Bobby's point, there was possibly a perception that Nonis was chasing Kiprusoff- and I think he was. I do think it was not necessarily just as a "back up", but that's not something we'll ever know now. Thanks Willbur.