"I'm ready to go when he calls on me."
And with that, Toronto Maple Leafs netminder James Reimer announced Friday that he was, finally, ready to play as soon coach Ron Wilson wants him to.
Reimer has missed the Leafs last 18 games with concussion-like symptoms but will be on the bench when Toronto faces the Boston Bruins on the road Saturday night.
Jonas Gustavsson will get that start, but it's safe to assume Reimer will take over two nights later against the New York Rangers.
"I'm ecstatic," Reimer said. "You know, I love to play. This is what I love to do. To be able to get back in the lineup and even just back practising was great.
"When you're sitting out, not only is it boring, but it just hangs around you. You want to get out there so bad."
Third-stringer Ben Scrivens was at practice on Friday but will be going back to the Toronto Marlies to make room on the roster for Reimer's return. Scrivens finished his first stint of NHL playing time with a 2-4-1 record, 2.96 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.
"We're convinced that he's got a bright future as a goaltender," Wilson said of Scrivens. "We knew that after training camp. I think that's kind of why you haven't seen us make any kind of moves [to bring in a veteran]in the meantime.
"We think we've got incredible depth. Although inexperienced, these guys are going to be really good for a long time."
Wilson added the organization wasn't discouraged by the fact Scrivens had a couple tough outings mixed in with a few strong performances.
"That's going to happen when you're young," he said. "You're not going to dominate the game. He's still got things he has to learn, but he sure played well on the road.
"He had some struggles at home I think more than anything and that's something he'll get better at: learning how to handle the pressure and the atmosphere."
- Wilson revealed after practice that Mike Brown had back surgery to repair a disc and will be out six weeks, creating a hole on the fourth line for roughly the next 20 games. He had been having a good season in his limited role.
- Cody Franson is likely to play in Boston after sitting out on Wednesday.
- Colby Armstrong (ankle) is another week or so away from returning. Matt Lombardi (shoulder) could return in another 10 days to two weeks.
- Defenceman Mike Komisarek, who has a broken arm, was skating on his own before practice. His recovery has been sped up a little, but he's still going to miss another four to six weeks.
- Almost all of the players' fathers were on hand watching practice Friday, and they'll be going on the road with the team to Boston and New York as part of the Leafs annual father-son trip.
Leafs projected lineup
Lupul - Bozak - Kessel MacArthur - Connolly - Frattin Kulemin - Grabovski - Crabb Colborne - Steckel - Dupuis
Gunnarsson - Phaneuf Gardiner - Schenn Liles - Franson