James Reimer did everything the San Jose Sharks asked of him in his first season back with the organization.
Reimer finished the 2021-22 season with a .911 save percentage and a 2.90 goals against average while also seeing the largest number of starts of his NHL career (46), including 13 consecutive starts from the end of January through the team’s first game in March.
Through it all, he managed to keep a smile and refused to say a negative thing about the team in front of him. Even during his exit interview, James Reimer made jokes with the media and talked about focusing on being at his best for everyone else.
James Reimer, on if he needs any medical work over the summer:
I might go see a few people just to make sure everything’s in the best possible spot possible for the summer so I can heal up and be as close to 100% come the fall, but nothing major in any way. Just some good maintenance.
Reimer, on what he liked from the team this year:
What I really like about this team, especially this year, was our desire or our compete level. We had guys blocking shots, competing, taking hits, giving hits, sacrificing their body right up until the end. That’s something you can’t teach. That’s something you just have to bring in the right people. You’re kind of born with that. That kind of character gets revealed, and so I’m really impressed with that part of our team.
I think, going for next year, it’s just raising the level of expectations. The expectation is always to make the playoffs and win the Cup, right? But I think the daily expectations of how good you’re going to be from day to day, and the commitment to execute. Whether it’s practice, morning skate, in games, and I think that’s something you just build, and that’s something that you can work on. We took strides this year, and I think if guys come ready to bring it every day next year, and I think we’ll be in a good spot.
Reimer, on the impact of Bob Boughner and staff:
I think, as a team, we took a lot of pride in the way we play, and as a staff too. Boogie, every day in video, he would point out the good things and the bad things, and push us. I think he brought that level of accountability to do that part of our game. I think that’s probably the way he played and that was his expectation for us, and I thought our leaders did a great job of leading the way that we did that. I think that was a big part.
Reimer, on the GM uncertainty:
I mean, obviously, Doug is the guy that brought me in and I had a great relationship with him, going back to my time here in 2015-16. With a new GM, nobody’s job is safe, right? Even if you had a great year, and things are looking good, the new GM might come in and just want to go in a different direction.
Not to say that you’re bad at your job or whatnot, but often, GMs want to put their own thumbprint on the team. So, you never know what’s going to take place. That definitely brings uncertainty, but like I said before, it’s not worth losing sleep over because you can’t control it.
Reimer, on the goalie situation in San Jose:
I mean, obviously, we’re gonna have three really good goalies. Next year, or going into the summer, however that plays out.
Even throughout my career, you can’t really control what people do or what people think. For the most part, you are just trying to control what you can do on the ice. I thought I came in here, and I played well, and I played consistent this year. Whatever they decide to do, that’s their prerogative. And, yeah, I’ll leave that up to them.
Reimer, on getting better as he gets older:
Like a fine wine. (laughs)
I feel like I’ve been getting better my whole career, but I feel like in the last couple of years, I’ve been taking bigger and bigger strides.
Goaltending is weird. It’s a science in itself. It’s not a science, whatever saying you want to you want to use.
Some guys peak early, but usually, I think you probably get better as you get more experienced. For me, it’s, I had a couple more games this year and feel like I’ve played in more situations and have been able to, perfect, whether it’s your structure or your mental game. I felt like it was a good season where I grew again and was able to get better.
Reimer, on working with Evgeni Nabokov:
Nabby, I really enjoyed working with him this year. I thought he was a great fit for where I am in my career right now, and where I want to be. I thought he helped me immensely, even from the conversations in the summer to getting here and working, and then throughout the year.
He’s got a great eye for the game and a great eye for goaltending, and the way goaltending is evolving too. Obviously, he was a great goalie, but I think he’s a great coach. Like I said, he sees things in real time, and then having played, he knows what it’s like to live through that situation or circumstance or whatnot.
He just has a great ability to address your game, physically on the ice and in the mental aspect too. How that kind of affects you, from different practices, to games, to travel, to whatnot. So, yeah, I really enjoyed working with him.
Reimer, on the stress put on goaltenders when their team isn’t scoring:
I mean, for me, it’s you try and let in as few goals as possible. The goal is always two or less. You allow two goals, or less then, your chances of winning go up dramatically, right?
And so, I don’t try and worry too much about whether the guys are scoring or not. We’re all a team in there, and we’re all rooting for each other and sacrificing for each other. I don’t really stress out about it too much.
It comes back to just simplifying the process, of just doing your job and doing your job well. That’s all you’re worried about, and then you trust your teammates to do their job and do it well. Doesn’t do us any good, worrying about other people’s positions.
Reimer, on the goalie mindset after being scored on:
You just kind of have a little mental routine that you kind of go through. You quickly assess the situation, whether you made a mistake or not, or whether it was just a really good goal and then you just kind of let it go. It’s over and done with and the only puck that matters is the next one.
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