Monday, February 26, 2007

Deadline Day

After watching the Leafs lose a wildly-contested contest against an inferior Montreal Canadiens team, I began to get a sinking feeling.

First – the Leafs aren’t good enough to contend this year. In a must-win game in a playoff atmosphere, Toronto didn’t get it done against a floundering team lacking its number-1 goaltender.

Second – I know in my heart that Ferguson is going to live up to the most time-honoured of Leaf traditions: he’s going to overpay for a veteran in a vain attempt to keep the Leafs from missing the playoffs.

I don’t have time for a lengthy post on this just now – but all I need to know about the Leafs’ chances is spend any length of time watching their supposed number-one goalie, Andrew Raycroft.

All season long, I’ve watched him let creampuffs into the net. Almost every time I tune in, it’s just in time to see a spirited Leaf rally killed because Raycroft somehow managed to let an unobstructed wrister from the blueline get past him. I don’t know how many times I was left screaming impotently at the TV set, but he was at it again tonight – he was handcuffed (on his knees – AS USUAL) with what turned out to be the winning goal before Maurice decided he’d had enough and yanked him. Too little, too late – 5-4 Leaf defeat, and that’s been the storyline all season. It doesn’t matter how many puff pieces I read in the Star about how much better Raycroft has been playing, or how much stronger he looks, blah, blah. I have no faith in Raycroft to come up big when it matters most, because he's failed at it, all year. I can see with my own eyes that most of the time, the guy has absolutely no poise at all, and if a game goes by without him letting in another groin-kick of a go-ahead goal, it’s because he got shit lucky with his positioning (Raycroft overplays cross-ice feeds EVERY GAME), or else the opposition managed to hit the post six times instead of the net.

This team is going nowhere as long as Raycroft is the supposed Main Man in net. Gary Roberts? Bill Guerin? Don’t make me laugh.

Tomorrow, Ferguson is probably going to unveil a cornholingly bad offer for a guy like Roberts (I’m thinking a couple of picks and a prospect, just to make sure Ottawa doesn’t get him) and the end result…will be nothing at all. In an effort to keep his job, Ferguson is going to compromise the future of the team for a guy who might contribute 5 goals down the stretch if we’re lucky, and who cannot personally carry the team into the playoffs, no matter how many of those famous protein shakes he drinks.

It doesn’t matter how scary Roberts looks, or how many goals he scores if you let in 5 goals every game.

Happy trade deadline, everybody.

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