Jonathan Bernier did almost everything he usually does when he's the Toronto Maple Leafs' starting goaltender. He manned the home net at Air Canada Centre, was first off the ice and did not speak following the morning skate.
Signs pointed to Bernier returning from a five-game absence with a groin injury to face the St. Louis Blues, though he left the ice quickly and coach Randy Carlyle didn't clarify the Leafs' goaltending status Tuesday morning. Carlyle said he hadn't yet got an update from the team's medical staff but didn't rule out the possibility of Bernier starting.
"Everything's possible," Carlyle said.
Everything includes the Leafs potentially having three goalies on the ice for pre-game warm-ups. James Reimer is a no-brainer, but the plan is also for Drew MacIntyre to take part, just in case Bernier is not ready.
If Bernier is ready, MacIntyre figures to be sent back to the AHL's Toronto Marlies before the start of the game. Seeing Bernier go through the motions of a starter, MacIntyre seemed to sense "this cup of coffee" in the NHL was coming to an end soon.
But everything's possible because Bernier did leave the ice quickly after stretching near the blue-line. Usually, Toronto's starter takes shots from defencemen after that.
Leafs forward Jay McClement didn't know anything about Bernier's status when he stepped off the ice at Air Canada Centre. He does understand the 25-year-old's importance to this team.
"Bernie, if in fact he is back, I don't know, but he's been great for us all year there's no question," McClement said. "He's a calm presence back there. Obviously it'll be a boost for us. No disrespect to Reims, Reims has played great for the most part of the year, but we're going through a tough stretch right now and any jump or any bit of bump in our mood in here will help."
Uncertainty about Bernier, who had a setback Friday when he pushed himself too hard, likely kept MacIntyre from being sent down to the minors during the afternoon. MacIntyre has never started an NHL game.
If Reimer starts, it would be his sixth straight. He was pulled Sunday night after giving up three goals to the New Jersey Devils and replaced by MacIntyre, who stopped all 14 shots he faced.
Defenceman Paul Ranger took part in the morning skate, his first since suffering a neck injury last week. His status was not clear, though if he played the Leafs would most likely go back to 11 forwards and seven defencemen.
Ryan Miller is set to start in goal for the Blues, two days after backup Brian Elliott shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins. Miller is 31-15-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .922 save percentage in his career against the Leafs.