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Reimer to debut new mask Add to ...

Perhaps a new mask will mean for better luck for James Reimer.

The Toronto Maple Leafs netminder said Monday he will wear a redesigned helmet in one of his team's upcoming games, although what exactly it will look like remains a closely guarded secret.

It's long been rumoured Reimer could adopt a Transformers themed design due to his nickname, Optimus Reim.

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"I still might," Reimer said. "There's one being painted right now. So hopefully [I'll wear it]soon. Hopefully within the next week or two."

"A new bucket?" teammate Jonas Gustavsson said, picking up on what was news to him.

Reimer then explained that Gustavsson's countryman, well known mask artist Dave Gunnarsson, is doing the design. Some of his work, including both Leafs goaltenders' current masks, is viewable on his website.

A year ago, Reimer changing his mask would have garnered much more attention than it will now, as last February he was in the midst of a remarkable start to his NHL career after several seasons in the minors.

Most of the questions the young goaltender is facing these days, however, have little to do with his equipment.

After all, Reimer has struggled since returning from a concussion in early December, with his latest setback coming on Saturday when he was pulled after allowing four goals in a 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

Since suffering the head injury in Toronto's seventh game of the season, Reimer has a 7-8-3 record with a 3.11 goals-against average and .900 save percentage in 19 starts.

If Gustavsson has a strong start against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, it will likely mean more time on the bench for Reimer.

"I feel like I've been working hard; I feel like I'm in position most of the time," Reimer said. "I've had some great games and some games I'd like to forget."

Saturday was definitely one of those, even if he didn't have a lot of help from his teammates.

Leafs coach Ron Wilson defended Reimer after Monday's practice along those lines, saying that the team has to play better in front of its goaltenders.

"There is a development that a lot of goalies go through, and I've mentioned this before," Wilson said.

"Whether it be Cam Ward or Carey Price - they've had their issues along the way in their career. We've just got to support Reims and the Monster as well as they work their way through a tough period."

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