The young man they are starting to call The Reim Minister, eyed up the sumptuous buffet at Woodbine on Thursday and then thought better of it.
“That weigh-in tomorrow has me a little scared,” said James Reimer, the suddenly popular star goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs as he tried something new yesterday: picking post positions for horses at a racetrack.
Reimer faces the first day of training camp Friday. He helped sparked the Leafs at the end of last season with his heroics in net, when he won 20 games and stopped pucks like a formidable wall, and did so with a humble attitude.
Reimer will arrive at the Leafs camp 20 pounds lighter, after he spent the summer eating more nutritiously. “Hopefully, I’ll be a little quicker out there,” he said to a wall of television cameras.
Reimer has noticed that during the season, the weight creeps up. In past summers, he’s worked on getting bigger and stronger. This year he focused on nutrition, taking tests to see if he was sensitive or allergic to any foods and then tucking into healthy fare. The by-product is a sleeker physique.
Reimer flew into Toronto in coach – not first class – and is now becoming accustomed to his star status. Many recognized him on the flight, although he says he can still walk about Vancouver where hockey folks think first of the Canucks.
Reimer says he tries to keep his head down, and the new pressures at bay. He doesn’t read newspapers. When a television segment airs about the Leafs, he turns the set off. “For me, I just try to worry about stopping the puck,” he said. “That’s what I love to do. And that’s all I like to worry about. The other stuff will take care of itself, I guess.”
“All I’m worried about right now is making that first save.”
During the summer, Reimer bought a new home and took his wife to Hawaii for a week to celebrate their first anniversary.
Reimer said the Leafs have a good chemistry this season. “I think every time we hit the ice, we’re going to be competitive,” Reimer said. “We’ll come out and play our hardest. I’m sure we are going to have off nights, but I think we’re going to be an honest, hard-working team, too.”