Siegel: Maple Leafs' Reimer out for foreseeable future

Jonas Siegel
11/4/2011 3:47:17 PM
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TORONTO – James Reimer remains out for the foreseeable future.

The Leafs starting netminder has not played in two weeks and did not take part in practice on Friday as the team altered its course in his recovery process yet again.

“[He's] kind of I'd say hit a plateau in his recovery so the trainers decided not to ask him to go on the ice,” said Ron Wilson, following the team's workout at Mastercard Centre.

The Leafs have received solid netminding in his absence.

Jonas Gustavsson made five consecutive starts in place of the injured Reimer (3-2-0) before giving way to rookie Ben Scrivens on Thursday night. The 25-year-old Scrivens made 38 saves in his NHL debut, backstopping the Leafs to a 4-1 win, their ninth in thirteen games this season. The sturdy performance of the duo has allowed the club to keep Reimer from rushing back to action, although the ups and downs of his recuperation have made his status somewhat of a mystery.

 “If he's not going to face a lot of shots it's better for him to just work out off the ice,” continued Wilson. “I'm just coaching the next game. I'm not concerned about that. I'm not a doctor or a trainer. We've got the healthy guys and they're doing the job so we'll give James plenty of time to recover.

"There's no rush to get him back."

Reimer has been out since Saturday, October 22nd when he was jarred in the mask by the elbow of Canadiens captain Brian Gionta. Initially the team kept him off the ice for a few days before allowing him to return to practice at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, October 26th. He experienced headaches as the workout wore on and was pulled back from on-ice activity over the following two days. (The team also placed him on injured reserve retroactive to the game in Montreal.)

The Manitoba native then returned to the ice on Saturday, October 29th, taking part in the next five on-ice workouts before pulling back on Friday. Wilson noted after Wednesday's morning skate in New Jersey that Reimer felt “gassed” from the workout, but said the team was still hopeful that he'd be able to start in Columbus the following day.

The Leafs initially diagnosed Reimer with “whiplash-like” symptoms, but have since labeled it an “upper-body” injury as Wilson described it on Friday. Reimer was 4-0-1 this season with a 2.58 goals against average, .912 save percentage.

The Leafs are 4-2-0 in his absence with Boston on deck at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday. Reimer has already been ruled out for the game against the Bruins with his status beyond that very much unknown. Since he'll be off the ice this weekend a return against Florida on Tuesday seems unlikely with games against St. Louis and Ottawa also in doubt.

Wilson declined to reveal his starter for Saturday's game against the Bruins.

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