Despite a tough year in which he lost his No. 1 status and was unable to prevent a late season collapse, James Reimer said he wants to put the past behind him and is looking forward to spending the next two years in a Maple Leaf uniform.
“I'm excited about going forward for the next two years with them,” Reimer said on TSN 1050 Monday. “I'm really pumped to be here for another two years.”
Relegated to back-up duty following an impressive 2012-13 season in which he led the Leafs to their first playoff berth in eight years, the 26-year-old is hopeful the relationship between him and the organization is improving.
“I think last year was a tough year for everyone,” Reimer said. “Over the course of the summer and now they've done a great job of communicating with me.”
Following a solid start to the season, both Reimer and the team struggled down the stretch and dropped 12 out of their last 14 games to miss the playoffs.
In the midst of the collapse, the goaltender and his head coach had conflicting statements following a tough loss to the Red Wings in which Reimer allowed three goals on 34 shots.
“I thought he was okay, you know, just okay,” Carlyle said post-game, to which Reimer replied: “He said just okay? I thought I was good.”
The goaltender's agent, Ray Petkau added fuel to the fire tweeting: “As is customary in Toronto, when your team plays poor defensively game after game, you blame your goalie,” before clarifying that the tweet was not in response to Carlyle's comments.
Despite the perceived rift, Reimer said the incident is in the past and he is ready to move forward.
“I haven't talked to him since the end of the year, but as far as I know, it's fine,” Reimer said in reference to Carlyle. “I think that whole situation was blown out of proportion…I'm looking forward to this season I don't foresee any issues whatsoever.
“Maybe I should start wearing sunglasses behind the bench,” Reimer jokingly said in reference to a frustrated look he gave Carlyle after being pulled early on in a game that also generated attention. “That situation was probably blown out of proportion.”
Addressing rumours that surfaced following the season that had him requesting a trade, the netminder said events over the off-season along with the hiring of Brendan Shanahan gave him confidence that the organization was heading in the right direction.
“That's not the case now, that's for sure…At the end of the year, I thought the opportunity was over, that the door was closed,” Reimer said. “But over the summer, it became clear that this is definitely the place that I want to be.”
Reimer on returning, relationship with Carlyle