Dear Andrew Raycroft,
I must admit, I love that picture. It's actually my new desktop background. It looks like you've been shot. If only I could be so lucky.
I kid, I kid. Calm down. I hate you, but that doesn't mean I wish a drive-by shooting upon you. I'm not a psycho, man.
So, tonight, we finally meet again. I won't lie; I've had this game circled on my calendar for some time.
As of this morning, I'm not sure if you'll actually be between the pipes tonight. It would be a shame if you're on the bench, but I wouldn't be surprised. You don't exactly come across as the most motivated cat, and that's one of your biggest problems. If I were you, I'd be on my knees begging to play tonight. I'd be desperate to prove to Leafs management, and prove to fans just like me, that you are not an epic failure of a goalie.
You know, Andrew, I don't hate many former Leafs. In fact, you're probably the only one. And I've often wondered why.
I think, deep down, it goes back to the end of the 2006/2007 season. You were pulled from the final, most important, game of the regular season, and the Leafs ended up missing the playoffs. Yet you had the nerve to tell everyone you were happy with your season. Happy with your 2.99 GAA and .894 save percentage.
I've never forgiven you for that. I likely never will.
You're a Belleville, Ontario boy, and were playing goal for the mother fucking Toronto Maple Leafs. You were living the dream. You should have taken it more seriously. You should have wanted it more. You should have been pissed off about missing the post-season.
You know, I feel a great sense of irony as I write this, because Vesa Toskala has turned into the goaltending equivalent of a dirty slut; he's turned into you. His numbers, frightening as they are, are actually worse than yours from 06/07. He looks apathetic in the crease, and every bad goal that goes past him is, well, just another bad goal that goes past him. It pains me how much he reminds me of you.
I've lost a lot of faith in Vesa this season. I don't think he's the goalie I thought he was. But tonight isn't about Vesa. It's about you. The Leafs can lose every game the rest of the way out, but I'll be happy as long as they win - as long as they beat you - tonight.
It's not even about revenge. It's about giving a damn. You never did. You bastard.
And my offer from weeks ago still stands: if you finish the season with better numbers than Toskala, that's it, I'm done, I'll never speak ill of you again.
You know, there haven't been a lot of games to get up for so far in this difficult and trying season, but tonight's one of them. I'll be rooting for my Leafs like it's a playoff game tonight.
Here's hoping you're in the crease, and that the red goal light behind you shatters from overuse.
Good luck. May the shitty goalie who least resembles a slut with an open five-hole win.
Go to hell,
*This letter has been graciously cross-posted by my good friend PPP over at Pension Plan Puppets. Go there, and sign up for an account. It's one big, happy
family group therapy session, and Maple Leafs blogging headquarters.
Raycroft's playing. It's on.