It’s partly coaching, but my biggest problem has been with consistency, which I suppose makes it all coaching, just spread out over more than one coach. If you have a guy playing well and a guy not playing well, the who starts decision should be an easy one. but the Leafs seem so determined that the Monster is a second stringer that it’s got to be ruining his confidence on some level, and tossing Reimer out there when he’s obviously not the same guy for some reason can’t be doing wonders for his, either. I hope this is one of the first things addressed by Randy Carlyle as he settles in. Still may not hurt to at least consider a new style of goaltending coach, too.
Now, with the team having lost six games in a row and just 18 games remaining, it is high time to turn the crease over to The Monster. Gustavsson, after all, was the guy the Leafs signed three years ago to be their savior.
When Reimer went down with a concussion Oct. 22 in Montreal after opening the season with a 4-0-1 record, Gustavsson did his best to pick up the slack. But even though he finished that game with a victory and then won three of his next five starts, you never had the feeling the coaching staff had faith in him. Ben Scrivens suddenly appeared on the scene as his next competition.
Then when Reimer returned, clearly not as sharp as he was prior to the injury, it again became obvious the Leafs were going to go with Reimer no matter what. However, when Reimer hit a real dry spell late in December, the club had no choice but to see if Gustavsson could carry the ball.
And he did.
Gustavsson started 11 of 12 games, winning seven and losing four. It wasn’t enough to give him security, though. The Leafs still wanted Reimer as their starter.
Reimer started 10 of 13 games leading up to the Chicago contest. He can let in the first shot of a game and he’ll be back in to start the next game. Gustavsson makes a miscue — albeit a costly one — in overtime against the New Jersey Devils and even though he helped the Leafs secure the only point they managed in a four-game home stand, he sits.