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Reimer, Bernier begin goaltending competition at Maple Leafs camp

Thursday, 09.12.2013 / 1:45 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Reimer, Bernier begin goaltending competition at Maple Leafs camp

TORONTO - You say you want a competition? James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier do not.

The Toronto Maple Leafs goaltenders vying for playing time insist they're not worrying about the other's performance. But there's no doubt that through training camp and the pre-season, their play will affect which one starts opening night against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 1.

Beyond that, Bernier and Reimer could share time during the regular season until one steals the starting job away. In a perfect world for Randy Carlyle, the Leafs' coach won't have to make the decision.

"In most of the situations I was previously in we always had competition for the position for a certain period of time," Carlyle said. "By the end of the season it sorted itself out. There was an equal opportunity given to the people to earn that No. 1 job and usually their play indicates to you who will be the No. 1."

Reimer, the incumbent, helped Toronto make the playoffs last spring for the first time since 2003-04. He had a .924 save percentage and 2.46 goals-against average along the way.

Bernier is helped by previous goaltending battles he has been a part of against Jonathan Quick with the Los Angeles Kings. Before Quick was a Conn Smythe Trophy-winner and Stanley Cup champion, there was plenty of debate whether he or Bernier would be the Kings' starter.

After the Leafs brought Bernier in via trade and gave him a salary higher than Reimer's ($2.9 million to $1.8 million), there's plenty of debate at camp.

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Because of the way they play and their skill set I don't think they're fourth-line players, so in my mind I'm looking at one of those guys I'll have to move over to the wing.

— Capitals coach Barry Trotz on his four-player battle for second-line center