The Toronto Maple Leafs lost their fifth straight game on Sunday, continuing to stall at 80 points on the year while the rest of the Eastern Conference's playoff hopefuls gain ground. With the loss, the Leafs surrendered the first Wild Card spot to the Detroit Red Wings, and they now sit just one and two points ahead of Washingon and Columbus, respectively, and the two trailing clubs each have games in hand.
The Leafs are now in serious danger of missing the postseason, and panicky fans are looking for someone to blame.
They appear to have settled on James Reimer, which makes some sense, since the goalie is always an easy target in Toronto (especially with the way the Leafs defend), and the Leafs' losing streak coincides perfectly with Jonathan Bernier's groin injury and Reimer's subsequent run of starts. In his last five outings, he's surrendered 18 goals.
Fans have taken to Twitter to express their disgust with Reimer's play. Unfortunately for them, Reimer doesn't have Twitter. (If necessary, he tweets through his agent.)
But his wife does, and angry Leaf supporters were more than willing to use April Reimer as an outlet for their outrage. "Your husband's a piece of [expletive], one guy told her. "Tell ur husband thanks for costing the leafs another game and maybe the playoffs. He’s garbage. He must be cut,” said another.
"You should seriously tell your husband to get psychiatric help," said a weirdo, tweeting this at a player's wife with no sense of irony," because he has become an absolute joke."
And so on. Prior to the New Jersey game, Reimer's wife spoke out against the morons collectively:
Don't mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness as weakness #goaliewifeproblems
— April Reimer (@april_reimer) March 23, 2014
Unsurprisingly, that did very little to shut them up. Her husband's performance versus New Jersey, where he only lasted 22 minutes, giving up 3 goals on 10 shots before being pulled, did even less.
After the Devils game, Tyler Bozak was blunt about the abuse April was facing: “I think this is pretty low and pretty sad."
Especially since, as Jeff Veillette explains, April isn't exactly as equipped to handle this kind of fan hatred as James is. From Leafs Nation:
Let's go back to the picture. People don't have an easy way to personally attack James Reimer because he wasn't able to stop 3 of 35 shots from some of the most talented hockey players on the face of planet tonight, plus one that his teammate kinda scored on him. So they look for a middle man, or in this case, a middle woman, and take pot shots at his wife, or at the very minimum, ask her to pass on their emotions. This is even worse. At least the players have people training them to channel out as much of the outside world as possible for years. When you look for a family member to pass on your anger to, you're going to their biggest fans, and saying "This person sucks and I hate them. Let them know, okay?". Which is an insane thought.
It really is. Fortunately, by speaking out against the abuse, April drew attention to it, and has since been met with a great deal of support and kindness:
Thankfully the voices of many drown out the voices of a few. Thank you if you wrote me a kind tweet :) — April Reimer (@april_reimer) March 23, 2014
There's no doubt that James Reimer needs to be better. But so do the troglodytes that feel the need to inform his wife.