TORONTO - James Reimer is looking to welcome Connor Crisp into the goaltending fraternity.
After hearing about the Erie Otters forward being pressed into action as an emergency replacement in net Sunday, all Reimer could think of was wanting to send Crisp something to commemorate the performance. The Toronto Maple Leafs goalie was genuinely impressed.
"Thirty-two saves—he could let in 20 (goals) but he still made 32 saves," Reimer said after practice Monday. "That's pretty impressive for that level of hockey. Being a forward, probably never really playing that position before, good for him.
"That's a pretty cool experience."
Crisp was forced into action against Niagara when goaltender Ramis Sadikov was injured in a collision less than two minutes into the game. Erie's other goalie, Devin Williams, had suffered a head injury earlier in the weekend.
It was the first time Crisp had worn goaltending equipment since he was five years old and he ended up facing 45 shots in a 13-4 loss to the IceDogs.
Making the situation even more unusual is the fact Crisp was appearing in his first game all season after undergoing shoulder surgery. Sadikov's goalie skates were also a couple sizes too small for his feet, which made it difficult to even remain upright.
Reimer believes a defenceman would have an easier time adjusting to the position than a forward.
"I think if you were a D-man, sometimes you're used to taking a knee and blocking a shot, but as a forward I don't think it really crosses your mind very much," said Reimer. "When the puck comes at you, I think the natural instinct is to get out of the way. To fight that and get into the way I think that would be tough. Just the pressure of it all too.
"I think he maybe kind of realized what a goalie goes through and how they can dictate the outcome of the game."
News of Crisp's fill-in performance generated plenty of buzz in the Maple Leafs dressing room. The players were surprised he had to face so much rubber.
"One of the guys said `They allowed 45 shots?' Help the kid out a bit," said Reimer.
Now the Maple Leafs goalie would like to do that himself.
"The first thing that crossed my mind is that I would (send him something)," said Reimer. "I have no idea what though."