TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs received some positive news Friday when injured No. 1 goaltender James Reimer returned to the ice during an optional practice.
Reimer has been sidelined since getting hit by Montreal Canadiens captain Brian Gionta on Oct. 22. The Leafs have said he is experiencing concussion-like symptoms.
He last practised with the team in New York on Oct. 26 and reacted positively to Friday’s workout.
“He said he felt fine but he only went out there for 15 minutes,” said Leafs coach Ron Wilson. “This is going to be a process that’s going to take a little bit of time to get him ready. He hasn’t really done anything in a month so he’s fallen probably a little off on his conditioning.
“This isn’t like he’s going to practise tomorrow and play on Sunday. He won’t be playing for at least another week to 10 days if everything goes smoothly.”
Reimer has a 4-0-1 record this season with a .912 save percentage and 2.58 goals-against average.
The Leafs are battling the injury bug heading into games against Washington on Saturday and at Carolina on Sunday. Forward Matthew Lombardi and defenceman Mike Komisarek each left Thursday’s loss to Nashville with upper-body injuries and are expected to be out at least three weeks, according to Wilson.
They join Reimer, Clarke MacArthur, Mikhail Grabovski and Colby Armstrong on the sidelines.
“We are kind of decimated at the moment by injuries so we’ve just got to find a way to battle through it,” said Wilson.
The Maple Leafs were expected to make a callup following the Toronto Marlies game in Rochester on Friday night.