by Shiv on 02/27/11 at 04:01 PM ET
The Bandwagon is filling up in Toronto. Doubters and skeptics alike are uniting with each passing game.
Mind you, there are still non-beLeafers clinging to the cynical expectation of this team’s downfall.
This bandwagon, though, is gaining momentum despite being empty for extended periods of time this season. There is not a Leaf fan on the planet that has not jumped off more than once.
You can thank James Reimer for that.
The 22-year old, Manitoba native has a 10-4-3 record with a 2.39 Goals Against Average and a 0.927 Save Percentage.
“Optimus Reim” has injected life and hope into the Leaf season. Heading into tonight’s game against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Leafs sit 5 points out of a playoff spot with a game in hand.
The most remarkable thing about Reimer’s play is how much better the Leafs play in front of him compared to Giguere or Gustavsson. It is the reason the Leafs are so close to a playoff spot. For the Leafs do find a way into the post season, Reimer will have to continue playing this way.
And if that happens, it’s hard not to ask if Reimer would be worthy of Calder consideration.
Right now, of course, it is too early. 10 Wins this late in the season do not carry much weight. However, if Reimer’s Win Percentage is prorated for the remaining 20 games on the season, it translates to a season of 20+ wins.
Among rookies, that would be a formidable mark. That is not to say that Reimer would win the Calder if he did so. He won’t.
The fact that he did not receive an opportunity to play till now is irrelevant. Besides, Skinner, Fowler, Hall, Couture and Bobrovsky have all had sensational seasons.
But Reimer’s play on a game-to-game basis has had just as much impact, if not more, than many of the players on that list.
There are doubters and skeptics who are not sold on whether or not Reimer can carry this play into next season.
But just like the Leafs’ playoff run, the Reimer bandwagon is starting to fill up as well.
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