VANCOUVER - James Reimer had been on the ice at UBC's Father David Bauer Arena for no more than a few minutes Monday when the rumours started.
Twitter was abuzz with the fact that Reimer was skating with some of the locked-out Vancouver Canucks and therefore it was only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs goalie was a member of the Canucks.
Vancouver trades Roberto Luongo to the Leafs, Reimer comes to Vancouver as part of the deal to back up Cory Schneider. Done deal.
"I mean if you want the truth, go to Twitter," a smiling Reimer said of the rumours. "That's funny, I didn't really think of that. I'm sure the rumours will be spreading, but as far as I know when the season comes back I'm still a Maple Leaf."
The truth is, Reimer is in the Vancouver area visiting his in-laws and will likely spend the next week or so skating with some of the Canucks and a few players from other NHL teams at UBC.
"My wife is from out here so it's a chance to see some family," Reimer said.
The 24-year-old is coming off an injury-riddled 2011-12 season with the Maple Leafs.
He appeared in just 34 games last season and twice missed large chunks of the season with injuries the team described as whiplash and neck-related. There was considerable speculation he was dealing with the effects of a concussion.
Reimer said Monday he was ready to start the season, if the season had started.
"I'm healthy, I was ready to go if the season had started on time," he said. "The extra time to heal doesn't hurt, but I would have been ready to go had we started when we were supposed to."
His numbers last season, a 3.10 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage, dipped from his rookie year with the Leafs and there has been considerable speculation that Toronto GM Brian Burke is in the hunt to acquire Luongo. Reimer is well aware of those rumours.
"Rumours are rumours, anyone can start a rumour and in this case you can't control it," Reimer said. "If he (Luongo) did end up coming to the Leafs then you battle and obviously I'd do my part to try and be in there as many games as possible.
"But if he came obviously he's a great goalie so I'm sure it would be a good competition and I'd try to learn as much as I could from him. Obviously he's got a lot to teach and I'd just try to learn from him."
NOT NEEDED: Reimer will not be playing in Kevin Bieksa's charity game Wednesday night at UBC.
"He just arrived today," Bieksa said of Reimer. "I think we're okay with one goalie (Cory Schneider). The rosters are set so he is not going to be participating in it."
HE'S ALL IN: Goalie Roberto Luongo, who has spent most of the lockout at his south Florida home, will be back in Vancouver later this month.
Luongo is scheduled to play a World Series of Poker Circuit Event at the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The WSOP is visiting the River Rock for 10 events from Oct. 27 through Nov. 7. Luongo, who represents the B.C. Lottery Corp.'s Playnow.com poker website, will play in at least one event.
Luongo, an avid poker player, finished in 639th place out of 6,598 entrants at the 2012 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this past summer.
ICE CHIPS: As some of the locked-out Canucks and friends skated with the UBC Thunderbirds on Monday, forward Ryan Kesler and defenceman Alex Edler were on an adjacent rink at UBC working out with Canucks' skills coach Glenn Carnegie. . .The Tenors will sing O Canada Wednesday night at Bieksa’s Buddies Charity Game.
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Chris Higgins of the Vancouver Canucks and John-Michael Liles of the Toronto Maple Leafs battle for the puck in front of Leafs goalie James Reimer during the first period of NHL action at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on Saturday, February18, 2012.
Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG