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21 March 2007

Leafs fans showing no love for Raycroft...

When the Leafs acquired Andrew Raycroft on 2006 Draft Day for young but highly touted goaltending prospect Tuuka Rask, they thought they were getting the goalie that would carry them into the playoffs and finally bring the team out of its mediocrity.

That was something Eddie Belfour, J.S. Aubin, Mikael Tellqvist and Trevor Kidd did not do during their recent Leafs tenure.

Andrew Raycroft has done that, he's given his team a chance to win games season with his flashy style. He has, however, suffered from occasional brain-cramps and common soft goals that have brought down his reputation in Toronto.

After a rocky first half which saw the American-born netminder amass 20 wins and 16 losses with 4 overtime losses to go with memories of the goaltenders named above with a 3.10 GAA and a save-percentage at only .892.

Raycroft was heavily criticized for his inconsistent play and fans began to regret trading away a top goalie prospect for a washed-up goaltender, who had lost his starting job the previous season with Boston.

Many even suggested the Bruins won out on this trade and you can be sure Boston fans were happy to see the Leafs did not get the better of the deal.

At least, that's what they thought.

Raycroft likely realized that his career needs to get back on track after winning the Calder trophy back in 2003-2004, narrowly beating out Canadiens forward Michael Ryder.

He started off the second half with a bang, posting a GAA around 2.00 and a save percentage near .920 for the first few weeks as the Leafs gained ground in their attempt to hold down a playoff spot just a season after missing them.

His stats have not remained that high however, he now sports a cool 13-6-4 record since the All-Star break with a respectable 2.64 GAA and a decent .902 save percentage. But what has surprised me most is his durability, he has appeared in 63 of the team's 73 games this season.

He is also on a current 30+ games started consecutively streak and is approaching a franchise record for wins. That wasn't too unexpected since he has started nearly all of Toronto's games this season, it was obvious he'd pick up nearly all their wins too.

Despite all this, Raycroft still has issues with his fans, an interesting article from the Canadian Press claims this:

The chants of "Cujo, Cujo," and "Eddie, Eddie," haven't yet been followed by "Razor, Razor."

Raycroft: Hopefully we get into the playoffs and win more games and they'll warm up a little bit more. But I do understand it to a point as well, there were two Hall of Famers before me. Everyone's been pretty spoiled the last 10 years.

Raycroft is currently 33-22-8 with a 2.92 GAA and a .896 SPCT%, respectable numbers, but still not enough for Raycroft to merit any serious praise...

Bleu, Blanc et Rouge

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