Rookie goaltender James Reimer has been recalled by the Toronto Maple Leafs and is now part of a three-goalie set-up along with veteran Jean-Sébastien Giguère and Jonas Gustavsson, who has been less than stellar recently. The move didn't seem to surprise Reimer's teammates on the heels of his impressive recent stint in the NHL recently.
"The way he played the last time he was up, you knew he was going to get another chance," said Giguere. "It was just a question of the time."
That was a sentiment repeated by Leafs forward Kris Versteeg.
"He's been a hell of a goaltender since he's been up with us and when he goes back down, you know he does the same thing," said Versteeg. "He deserves it, he's been playing even well in practice, so it's good to see him back."
In fact, the only person who seemed slightly caught off guard by the announcement was the 22-year-old goaltender himself.
"I didn't really expect it to be this quick. I kind of thought I'd be down there for awhile," said Reimer. "But I'm happy with the opportunity, so hopefully I can get into a game and get a win."
Reimer's return to the big club gives him a chance at getting on the ice again, but it's not certain when that could happen.
"We have three goalies up, we have room on the roster. He's earned another look at some point, and when? We don't know yet," said head coach Ron Wilson.
Reimer's last stint with the Leafs saw the Winnipeg native dazzling with some impressive play between the pipes, during which he went 4-2 with a 2.27 GAA and a .930 save percentage.
"We had a really good road trip out there and the guys were playing great. When the team is playing great in front of you, it makes your job a lot easier," said Reimer. "It gave me a lot of confidence and hopefully I can just take that into this next week here."
The news of Reimer's return is no doubt an interesting development for Gustavsson, who has seen his security in the blue paint threatened by the strong performances of the young upstart.
"That's the way it is, but you have to do your best all the time," said Gustavsson. "You can't think so much, you just have to go out there and do the things you've been doing for the last couple of years and push yourself. That's the only way you can be a better goalie, so that's why I'm trying to do every day - come to the rink with lots of energy and be happy to be here and just work hard."
Giguere, 33, said he thought Reimer had earned the right to challenge for a netminding role in Toronto.
"The only thing I know is it's because he deserves it too," said Giguere. "You knew he would be back at some time this year."
Reimer maintained a modest outlook on his situation.
"Lots of people work hard and sometimes they don't get the chances, so I just consider myself lucky and try to make the most of it again."
The Leafs next play the Hurricanes on Monday night.