June 28, 2008

Good Riddance

Another thrilling episode of "Survivor: Toronto Maple Leafs" edition took place on Friday. The tribe (read: Cliff Fletcher) has once again spoken. Thankfully - no, mercifully - Andrew Raycroft has been voted off the island.

It's a joyous occasion, my friends. In making arguably the easiest decision in the history of mankind, the man known as "Raycrap" has been bought out of the final year of his contract by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Scheduled to earn $2.2 million next season, the Leafs will take a salary cap hit for the next two years of...you know what, I don't even know. And it doesn't even matter. It's worth it. I don't care how much we're on the hook for, it's worth it.

Andrew Raycroft will never again play goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Say it with me. Say it out loud. Believe it, man, because it's true.

"Andrew Raycroft will never again play goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs!"

Oh man, it feels great. It's a great day. Oh yes, forget the dollars and cents, it's worth it. A buyout worth every last fucking penny.

You know, I'm sure Raycroft is actually a swell guy. I'm sure he's someone who takes pride in what he does and who wants to succeed. But, man, his tenure in Toronto was so bloody awful that I can't help but feel happy now that he's heading towards the exit. I wish him well, I truly do. It's clear that he simply didn't possess the mental toughness to play goal in Toronto, one of the most difficult places to play. While I doubt he'll get another job in the NHL, I hope he can get a job in the minors and work on his game because, well, his game needs a lot of work. Here's hoping the dude lands back on his feet. For an Ontario boy who fulfilled a dream by lacing 'em up for the Toronto Maple Leafs, how it all played out has got to leave a bad taste in his mouth.

Sort of like the foul taste in the mouth of all the Leafs fans who watched him play these last two years.

In my mind, Raycroft will forever be tied to the John Ferguson Jr. era here in Toronto. JFJ made some incredibly stupid moves as general manager of the Leafs - such as, oh, I don't know, handing out no-trade clauses like fucking Halloween candy - but the Raycroft for Tuukka Rask trade might go down as his worst.

It was one thing to take a chance on Raycroft two summers ago. He had a phenomenal season in 2003/2004 and won the rookie of the year award. In the post-lockout season he was hampered by injury. When it was evident here in T.O. that Ed Belfour had reached the end of the line, the Leafs needed a goalie, and Raycroft became the man. When I heard we had landed Raycroft for Rask, I supported the move. With two blue-chip goaltending prospects in our system (Justin Pogge and Rask), one of them was obviously expendable, and I had high hopes for Raycroft to return to form.

What I'll never understand is why JFJ handed Raycroft a new contract - a 3-year, $6 million pact - before he even played a game in the blue and white. Instead of letting Raycroft go out and prove himself and earn the number one job, JFJ handed him the keys to the car. It was the worst decision he could have made. Even though he won 37 games two seasons ago (I still can't grasp my head around this fact), Raycroft stank. He let in soft goal after soft goal and was yanked from the crease in the biggest game of the year with a playoff spot on the line. Only one year after he was acquired for an incredibly high price, it was obvious Raycroft wasn't up to the task of manning the crease in Toronto and JFJ had to go out and get another goalie, and deal another first-round pick in the process.

I'm not even going to bother getting into Raycrap's most recent season. I've blocked most of it out of my memory. All you need to know is that he won two of the 19 games he played. With an NHL-calibre backup goalie, the Leafs might have made the playoffs.

Vesa Toskala has, thank God, worked out for Toronto (and JFJ, that moron, handed him a contract extension before he played a game for the Leafs, too), but JFJ really deserves a bitch slap for giving Raycroft that extension. In the end, it doesn't even matter whether Rask turns into a solid NHL goalie, even though all signs are pointing towards him doing just that. Raycroft was a monumental, colossal, epic, mammoth, mistake. Raycrap's shitty legacy in Toronto will forever be tied to JFJ's even shittier legacy.

Alas, what's done is done. What matters is that Raycroft, say it with me one more time, will never play goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs again. Another one of JFJ's wrongs has been righted.

Thank you, Cliff Fletcher. Thank you so much.

5 comments:

Greener said...

You're up, Nav.

Anonymous said...

If Fletch does nothing else as the GM, he has done enough...

Raycrap will never play goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs ever again.

eyebleaf said...

Greener: "I vote for that bitch, Andrew Raycroft"

Anonymous: I told you it was fun!

general borschevsky said...

"Andrew Raycroft will never again play goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs!"

It feels amazing.

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