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article imageMaple Leafs' James Reimer out just as Brian Burke checks back in

By Marcus Hondro     Feb 12, 2013 in Sports
The Toronto Maple Leafs provide news for fans almost daily. On Saturday it was a 6-0 pounding of the Montreal Canadiens in the Bell Centre, an extra newsworthy result, and now there's James Reimer's injury and a visit from disposed GM Brian Burke.
They beat the Philadelphia Flyers Monday night, 5-2, just their second win at home (2-4) this season (they're an impressive 6-1 on the road) but fourth straight win overall. Other news came from the first visit to the ACC for Brian Burke since being fired, and genuinely big news was an injury to James Reimer. That news about Burke brings to mind an injustice to a man who built the team now playing so well, the news about Reimer brings to mind the injustice an injury always brings.
James Reimer: Leafs goalie limps off ice
Reimer went down awkwardly on his knee early in period two. Teammate John-Michael Liles said he heard his goalie yell out when it happened. “Honestly, I thought he was yelling about something in the play,” Liles said. “He was trying to get my attention and the referee’s too, I think. When I asked him what happened, whether one of their guys ran into him, he just said: ‘Nah, I was just trying to push off.’”
Reimer looked in terrible pain while being helped off the ice, not able to put weight on the knee. Leafs coach Randy Carlyle afterwards showed he has a firm grasp of the obvious when he said it was a "lower-body injury." Carlyle also showed that he has a good hold on optimism when he said that he didn't think his number one puckstopper would be out very long.
The team said Reimer would get an x-ray Tuesday and they'd go from there. Seeing how gingerly he moved, how he wasn't able to put weight on the knee, knowing that he called out in pain and was hurt badly enough that he wanted the play stopped right away, all of that suggests the possibility of a serious injury.
ACL? MCL? That is of course speculative but it would be a shock to see Reimer back in the next month. If that is the case it is a textbook case of the capriciousness of injuries. By all accounts, Reimer worked like a Trojan during the lockout to get to the level he's at, saying all along he'd be the Maple Leafs number one goalie. He did and for him to suffer a major injury a second straight season would be a great injustice. But there isn't a guarantee of justice in life or hockey and it looks bad for Reimer's season.
Brian Burke: Former Leafs GM at ACC
Dwarfed by the Reimer injury, Burke's return to the ACC is still of note. The embattled former-GM remains on the Toronto payroll and was told he was a part of management but at his exit interview with the media he seemed confused about the exact nature of his duties. But there he was Monday, in a camera shot looking down from a box at what remains the team he put together.
In four relatively short years Brian Burke gave the Toronto Maple Leafs a make-over of the highest order. Starting from Reimer, Burke is the guy who signed him to a long-term contract, doing so after only having him in the net in Toronto for half of a season (and Reimer had played in just 26 games in the AHL). In doing so, Burke locked up the guy who could lead the Leafs for years to come.
Burke was the guy that drafted Nazem Kadri, now showing he's a bona-fide NHL player. Burke is the guy who traded for Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk and signed Tyler Bozak, Mike Komisarek, Ben Scrivens, Cody Franson, Clarke MacArthur, Jay McClement, John-Michael Liles and coach Randy Carlyle.
Maple Leafs say no to Roberto Luongo
He said no to a Roberto Luongo deal. He wasn't willing to give up young players for a goalie with a ten-year contract and some rumors insisted his firing was because of that. But not having done so was the right move. And though Phil Kessel has played well for the Leafs (37 goals, 45 assists for 82 points last season) Burke gets knocked for giving up draft picks that turned into Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton and Jared Knight to get him But here his main fault was thinking the team he inherited was better; he failed to predict they'd finish 29th.
Having built a team finally ready for success to come in the year in which he was let go, there was Burke back in time to see Reimer's injury, the only thing that might stand in the way of the Stanley Cup playoffs returning to Toronto for the first time since 2004. So it is that Toronto fans now await the next big news item to come out of Maple Leafs land - James Reimer's injury report.
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