Taking Nothing For Granted
Thursday, 07.14.2011 / 9:27 AM ET / News
By Matt Iaboni - Mapleleafs.com online producer
|RELATED: Chasing The Dream | Leafs Have Their Goalie | Video: Reimer Reflects | Reimer Highlights|
|DISCUSS IT ON: Leafspace | Twitter | Facebook|
James Reimer has finally been able to take a deep breath after a whirlwind 2010-11 season.
“I had about two weeks to go home and kind of enjoy it with my family and wife and look back at the whole season and reflect on it,” Reimer said Wednesday at the Leafs Hockey School presented by Rogers.
After a workout at the MasterCard Centre, Reimer signed autographs and met with a few of the youngsters as they chanted his name with that infectious smile never leaving his face.
“I remember when I was a kid and how much fun I had playing and it is really great to see these kids,” Reimer said.
The 23-year-old Morweena, Manitoba native was able to visit Hawaii and after the Worlds (in Slovakia) he visited Italy to take in the culture and history.
“I went to Venice, Pisa and Rome and it was a lot of fun and quite beautiful to see,” Reimer said.
After his outstanding rookie season with the Maple Leafs, there is no doubt that the Leafs will be counting on Reimer to duplicate his play.
With the numbers that he had last season, wins (20), shutouts (three), save percentage (.921) and goals against average (2.60) one would think that would bring some added pressure but he doesn’t appear fazed by that challenge.
“There are always more expectations with every year that you have success," Reimer said. "People always expect it but you know, I don’t try to let it get on my mind,” he said.
One of the reasons that Reimer feels he was prepared for his opportunity last season was the work that he puts in the off-season and his goal every year will always remain the same.
“I’ve been trying to get better every year and so far I have been able to do that and this year is another year where I’m going to try to get better and improve my game,” he said.
After signing a new three-year contract with the Maple Leafs in early June, Reimer will head into training camp the undisputed number one goalie for the Leafs. But he won’t take anything for granted.
“First off it’s exciting but I’m going to try and step up and not take any handouts," he said. "I want to prove that I’m capable of doing it.”
As a starting goalie, it is expected that Reimer will be playing between 60-65 games but his off-season routines haven’t changed to prepare for the increased workload.
“Every year I prepare myself to play 50 to 60 games," he said. "I’ve been doing a few more agility drills and being a little bit more intense in my workouts but I try to work hard all the time.
One thing that he will be changing next season is having a new design on his mask. After being nicknamed “Optimus Reim” by fans, he plans to incorporate a Transformer theme on his goalie mask.
“I haven’t done it yet but I’ve talked to the painter and he will be sending me some examples in the next couple of days,” Reimer said.
Although he spends most of his off-season in British Columbia, Reimer has kept an eye on the moves that the Leafs have made this summer and he is eager to see the new players on the ice.
“Burkie (Brian Burke) did a really good job in getting the types of players that we need to hopefully take the next step,” he said.
While not much was known about Reimer prior to him joining the Leafs in December, the Toronto Star had an excellent piece on the Leafs netminder that provided great insight.
“I was very happy with the way it represented my family, where I came from and all the people who’ve supported me,” he said.
There is no question that his family upbringing has been a huge reason for his success last season and hopefully for him and Leafs Nation in the years to come.