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James Reimer of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
General manager Brian Burke has always been a relatively straight shooter. Yet just prior to the lockout, he got goalie James Reimer caught in the crossfire of the ongoing Roberto Luongo saga with the Leafs.
Addressing rumors that the Leafs were interested in Luongo, Burke had this to say to Pierre LeBrun (via ESPN):
“We are prepared to go forward [with James Reimer and Ben Scrivens in net]. If we can upgrade at the goaltending position, and at a reasonable price, we’ll do it. But we are prepared [to go that way]. I believe in James Reimer. He’s young, he’s athletic, I believe in this kid. If we have to start like that, we will.”
You want to upgrade your goaltending, even though you believe in Reimer. Your defense gave up the second most goals in the Eastern Conference last year. Does that mean you kneel and pray to Mike Komisarek? Because that would explain a lot, namely his exorbitant contract.
Meanwhile, saying Reimer is athletic as if it were a compliment? The dude is a professional athlete. Isn’t that akin to saying you love pizza because it’s food? Finally, being willing to start with Reimer and Scrivens because “you have to” is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
This whole ludicrous position on the matter, which Burke has maintained on multiple occasions, makes about as much sense as his justification of the Phil Kessel trade: admitting the Leafs always acknowledged the first of those two first-round picks going to the Boston Bruins could very well turn out to be Tyler Seguin, but deciding the deal was well worth it anyway.
Logically, you trade for Kessel for one reason only: to make the playoffs immediately and not finish second to last in the entire NHL. Clearly, you gambled and lost, badly. But in a classic attempt to save face, Burke continues to have his cake and try to eat it too.
This latest soap opera surrounding his team’s goaltending situation is more of the same. With all the half-truths, he's just throwing Reimer under the bus and quite possibly irreparably damaging his confidence moving forward.
Either lie through your teeth when talking to the media about ongoing trade negotiations or don’t talk to the media at all. It’s that simple. Believe me, no one will think less of you. It’s kind of impossible at this point.