Rayzor gains the edge in net

According to www.sportsnet.ca, Andrew Raycroft will get the nod to start in the home/season opener tonight against cup finalists, The Ottawa Senators. What i would like to know is why? Why give up all those picks and sign Toskala to an 8 Million dollar contract and not give him the chance to prove he’s a capable #1. Don’t be surprised if this single move shatters his confidence this season. Raycroft must be pleased, but must also feel a little humbled after The Leafs went and got another goalie to “replace” him.

Should be an interesting year in Toronto

90 Responses to Rayzor gains the edge in net

  1. leafy says:

    Yeah, yeah, yeah….

    Question for you: Why do you think Toronto beat Ottawa 4 times in the playoffs in years past?

  2. leafy says:

    We need not worry about the defence.  Trust me, they will be just fine.

  3. leafy says:

    Mojo, your level of knowledge is far too advanced for many of the readers on this site.  But don't despair.  You and I represent the silent majority.  Did you see today's online poll in thestar.com?  By far, the majority of respondents indicated that improvement in goaltending will be the key this year.  Plus, after one full year in Toronto, have you seen anybody chanting "Razor, Razor" at Leaf games?  No way.  Why?  Because the vast majority of fans are NOT idiots.  We represent the silent majority.  In a democracy, the silent majority rule!!!

  4. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    ottawa played a bad game. the fanned on all their breakaways, they shyed away from being physical(and when they tried being physical they took a lot of penalties). All 4 goals were scored from 15+ feet away from the net. NONE of the goals were rebounds, NONE of the goals were one timers. ALL of them were shots. the sens skated a little raycroft blew his angle and they popped it in. We saw it all of last year.

    The Leafs played a little better than the sens, but with the goaltending difference they had to play a lot better to get the win.

  5. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    ottawa played a bad game. the fanned on all their breakaways, they shyed away from being physical(and when they tried being physical they took a lot of penalties). All 4 goals were scored from 15+ feet away from the net. NONE of the goals were rebounds, NONE of the goals were one timers. ALL of them were shots. the sens skated a little raycroft blew his angle and they popped it in. We saw it all of last year.

    The Leafs played a little better than the sens, but with the goaltending difference they had to play a lot better to get the win.

    I still liked playing raycroft, and starting toskala on the road. even in hind sight.

  6. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    sorry, but Kubina and white had dreadful games, McCabe was shaky as well. Kaberle was not bad at all. and hal Gill had a terrific game.

  7. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    yes, because all hockey nicknames come from a players first name right???

  8. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    you cant say he's supposed to be able to handle the pressure, and assume he will. Raycroft is suppsed to make a lot of those saves, but you cant assume he would have. starting toskala on the road is a good idea.

  9. BLUE_AND_WHITE says:

    WHAT!, one of kubina and white was on the ice for ALL of the goals. Wozniewski and gill were damn amazing.

  10. leaflova says:

    McCabe did good, i find, compared to last year, if he made a mistake, he would go and block a shot and make up for it, kaberle though gave it away quite a few times and couldnt make up for his mistake.But thats just my opinion.

  11. jarcpitre says:

    I believe that Maurice is sending a message on this one. The job was supposed to be Toskola's, but with poor play he doesn't really deserve to be the #1 guy. I really believe that Maurice wants are longer look and wants to start a fire under both goalies to make them compete for the job. I think its a good move personnally. It Toskola can't handle sitting on the bench for a game, then how is he goning to handle the tuff crowd in Toronto. As far as those clowns on TSN, I wish Healy and McGuire would monster this.

  12. nordiques100 says:

    1st goal – can someone blame kaberle for once getting beating with absolute ease and allowing vermette to walk in uncontested?? or is that sacreligious? if maybe, maybe someone could have kept that ottawa forward in front of him, perhaps the shot would not have been point blank.

    2nd goal – he should have had this one. plain and simple. this is why healy pointed out raycroft looking to the skies. if you're looking to the skies as a gesture that says i shoulda had that, then make the save.

    3rd goal – blame raycroft all you want, but the same things that happened last year happened again here. the leaf forwards were soft in controlling the boards making it very easy for the sens D to keep the puck in. the clearing attempt was super weak. a flip pass isnt going to get the puck out. once the puck stayed in, it was keystone cops in the zone with players running around and everyone chasing the puck carrier. plain and simple a team effort in this debacle. perhaps the slightest effort by the forwards to actually take the pinching D, perhaps using the glass for once hammering it out of hte zone would have helped as well. but of course it was ALL the goalie's fault here.

    4th goal – well everyone seems to have a hard-on for kilger because he is big and physical. sure looked ultra soft in checking heatley. someone 6-4 220 lbs should not be that soft. they could at least tie up the opponents stick as physics determines that based on size, kilger should be at least as strong as heatley. he was right there, just not sure what the heck he was doing.

    definitely raycroft could have had all the shots, he simply cant make the big saves. however, it was a series of events by his inept teammates that led to 3 of the 4 goals including the last two. clearly this is much more a team effort in futility rather than 1 player being completely at fault. what you are asking for is luongoesque heroism from a guy who is nowhere near that good. only someone like luongo could mask such poor defensive efforts. apparently the leafs D is not as good as some of you claim they are based on shots against and rather meaningless stuff like that.

  13. Visco says:

    I'll tell you this. Raycroft is no elite goalie in the league.  He gets paid for what he is worth.  He's no steal by any means at his dollar.  I'll give it to the Leafs in the Playoffs for their determination, but they still played like they did last night.  The only difference is they had better goaltending in net and Dany Heatley was not a factor.  Also to add on to that, the leafs played full games like they did last night.  Ottawa is a  better team now and has the chemistry and  the only thing that is questionable  is their goaltending.  The only question on that is that is, are Emery or Gerber Elite goalies or will they just prove to be good goalies.   Upcoming season can only tell you that.   All I would like to see is less criticism on the goalies in Toronto for every goal and more blame on the line that was on the ice (when deserved).  Two questions for last night would be, why wasn't heatley picked up both times.  The first time he was wide open and he is amazing, he will put that puck in if you give him just one chance.  The second time, I want to know how that pass got to him and why it wasn't deflected out or he wasn't on his ass.  His release on that shot was what scored the goal.  Now again it would have been amazing if Raycroft made both those saves, but he still did a lot that game that no one recognizes because of the goals scored against.

  14. Visco says:

    Is that why Toskala got shell shocked against Buffalo in preseason.  I know that game meant nothing, but it showed that without a team working hard in front of him, he wont steal the game.  I don't see a huge difference between Toskala and Raycroft on the ice.  I've watched a lot of games and Toskala last year had a more defensive minded team in front of him when he did play.  Now he has come to Toronto and let the show begin.  For the record, that is what shooters do.  They pull the goalie out of the net that little bit to find an opening.  It's not the goalies fault, if he doesn't commit that little bit there is an open net for the shooter.  The game last night was the same story as last year "Raycroft didn't steal the game for the Leafs"  and in reality the Leafs only played 40 mins of great hockey.  I'm all for both these goalies sharing the playing time this year.  I don't think either is worthy of a full season and I'm looking forward to some solid games from both, but also prepared to see the worst of both.  Another thing to add is that if Toskala wins tonight and the score is 7-5 something like that, I hope that leaf fans don't start saying that is why we got him, he wins games. 

  15. orlandomac says:

    My personal opinion is that Raycroft has improved but is still sitting way too far back in his crease trying to mimmick Felix Potvin without the Cat's reflexes.<p>
    I am no Rayzor fan either, trading one of the best goalie prospects in the world for a 3rd string goalie was a collossal mistake. But Raycroft has improved slightly and hopefully can do so further through the year so that his value raises enough to move him. <p>

     Clearly Toskala is a much more talented goalie and will show that once he gets in there and accustomed to his new defence partners. Even great goaltenders take a little while to acclimatize to a new team. I too was shocked he didn't get the start, but feel Maurice was right in that Rayzor had a better record in preseason, and you have to award performance especially wins as that is the most important factor. It would have set a bad example if he had done either wise. <p>

    As for the teams play in the game there were allot of minuses in the scorecard but overall the Team performance was excellent through most of the game especially the first and 4th Line.. <p>

    Although I am a Stajan fan he looked very soft and tentative at times and it cost us in goals although he did get one back.. Steen was excellent… Poni was average.. <p>

    Kilger was extremely weak throughout very tentative although he throws a hit every once and a while to show you that the stiff has a pulse… his soft play in overtime is what allowed the killer goal.. players of Heatley's calibre won't let huge opportunities like that go.. it cost us the game in the end… Tucker was weak on the defensive side of the game but that is his norm.. Pohl nonexistant… <p>

    I too like Mojo have wondered about the hate on with Antropov for me he is a consistent plus (+/-) player on a team with few of them and for the price is a bargain for a guy who will score 20 plus goals… his drawback has always been his health.. If he ever completes a full season he will get 25 to 30 goals not bad for 2 Mil.. <p>

    The D for me overall looked good against a great offensive team there was allot of bend but rarely were broken most of the missed assignments were by forwards… so that bodes well… if they can do the same in front of Toskala a goalie who will cut the shooting angle down this season could be a stellar one for a much maligned bunch.. <p>

    Against the best team in the East it was a positive performance.. if they could go into Ottawa and steal some points tonight it will be a great result and start, but they will have to put out a similar performance as they did yesterday and maintain it for 60 mins… I think it is actually easier to do that on the road then it is here at the ACC… The win against the Sens last year was on the road too I might add…

  16. jarcpitre says:

    Agree with your assessment. Kaberle was real shaky, Kilger had a bad game, Tucker was useless. Tucker had one good hit, but that was him hitting the ice again. Hal Gill looked terrible skating backwards, like on the third goal, you have to watch him on that replay, he's a terrible skater, he better stick to just D.

  17. 92-93 says:

    i am utterly shocked.

    steve simmons wrote a somewhat positive article, even a fair and balanced one:
  18. jarcpitre says:

    I have to agree with you visco. I find the leaf fans and Im talking about the ones in the Toronto area, are terrible fans. Look at the game last night after the first goal they were booing Raycroft. Do they really think this will make him play better or maybe they think they are motivating Toskola. For one thing, I know Toskola realized how brutal the fans are in Toronto. Take for instance when Dave Winfield called out the fans and told them to cheer a bit instead of boo. What happened was the Jays won the World Series. Home ice advantage is suppose to be an advantage, but not in Toronto until the fans show a little support. Don't get me wrong I'm a huge Leafs fan too, but would never boo my team and would never attend a game at the ACC again, worse atmosphere ever.

  19. jarcpitre says:

    The first goal was a rocket and was barely off the ice, yes it was on the glove side, but there is no way a goalie gets it with his glove. The only goal that was weak was the second goal, he came across a little too far. Other than that he played a good game and so did the Leafs, a few break downs but it was a good game. After Toskola hearing the boos from the Leafs fans in Toronto, do you really think that motivates him or scares him to death knowing he's next. The fans in Toronto have to be fans and start cheering no matter what and until this happens we'll never see a cup.

  20. the_word says:

    I think Maurice wanted to take last night as a litmus test, in case of a blowout.  Toskala isn't Aubin, I'm sure he'll get plenty of chances to prove himself.

  21. the_word says:

    You'll drink the media kool-aid though right?  Lets watch Toskala play a few games (ones that count) before we bury him or call him fragile and lets see the Leafs play a few games this year as well.

    Maurice ran a terrible camp?  Preseason games don't count, they played Pogge and Clemenson so they could take a look at them (Pogge is better for the LNH experience and Clemenson is likely the Leafs call up third tender).  They weren't auditioning for jobs.

    You're right to criticize Maurice, he isn't infallible (what was Gill doing on the PP last night after McCabe hurt his hand, is Kubina supposed to be the backup on the PP?), but he is pretty good.

  22. the_word says:

    It still had the fingerprints of classic Simmons self promotion with line like"playing with a torn labrum of the hip".  I think he's actually proud that he broke that story despite being mocked for it.

  23. the_word says:

    The way Gill boxes out players with is size is remarkable, he's looking like a steal at 2.1 million (considering today's market).  Kaberle looked bad on Vermette's goal but made up for it by kicking the puck away on the 1 on 1 with Alfie in the second.

    Even Steen looked pretty good last night.  Antropov looks like he may finally have that breakout year.

  24. the_word says:

    Why are the Leafs the only team under the microscope?  Take Antropov's first goal (the one off Philips foot), if Toronto let in a goal like that this board would be lit up with people bashing that hypothetical defenseman.  Its hockey, bad plays will be made, soft goals will happen, lets watch a few games and get a sense of how the team is playing as a whole before we start blaming the parts.

  25. lukeleim says:

    ya hes brutal.. we need more speed on the back end.

  26. lukeleim says:

    Were we watching the same game? Kubina and white had pretty decent first outings this season… especially white. McCabe yes was a little shaky but Kaberle maybe even more so. Hal Gill did play well but not terrific. He's too slow and we need more speed on the back end. When Coli comes back, scratch gill and keep woz in the lineup.

  27. mojo19 says:

    The first goal was a good-hard shot granted, but theres no excuse to be so far back in the net hugging the right post and exposing half the net to the shooter, Raycroft put himself in a position to make it impossible to save that one.

    And yes Kaberle wasnt looking great on that play or early on in the game at all, but at least Vermette was forced to the outside a little bit, Raycroft knew he was going to shoot and not drive to the net and deke so why would he stand on the goal line so far over to the right? If you keep defending this goal I'll never agree with you so don't worry about it.

  28. mojo19 says:

    To Blue and White:

    One of Kubina and White being out on all the goals doesn't mean anything. Just because those are the plays the leafs happened to get scored on doesn't mean they played bad. White and Kubina were carrying the puck, joining the rush, in Kubina's case he was stealing it with ease in his own end and he looked amazing last night.

    Gill and Woz played great considering what they had to do and obviously Paul should go back to them next game, Woz even got two points, but you can't say they weren't running around too much in the third period when the Sens poured on the heat.

  29. jarcpitre says:

    Not defending the goal it was simply a good shot and yes he should've challenged the shooter to cut down the angle, I agree. Getting back to the fans at the ACC, they just piss me off because the booing won't make a team play better.

  30. jarcpitre says:

    Yes, we need some speed, but the leafs signed the core of the D to long term deals, now we're stuck with them. Coliacova will be a welcome addition when he returns, I was impressed with him and White last year.

  31. leafy says:

    Clearly, Damian Cox does NOT agree with your assessment.  Not that I need to hear it from Damian Cox, I've been saying this for 6 months.


  32. leafy says:

    Ok, 92_93, I recall you mentioned that you consider Damian Cox's opinion highly (remember when I sent you the ESPN articles on Raycroft?).

    Well, well, well, looks like Cox does NOT agree with you're assessment of Raycroft's goaltending (see link).  Not that I need to hear it from Damian Cox, I've been saying this for 6 months.  Thoughts?


  33. leafy says:


    I heard a rumor that Raycroft was depressed last night and jumped in front of a truck on Highway 401.  Fortunately, it went through his legs and he's all right now.

  34. mojo19 says:

    Well it might not make them play better but atleast they know how we feel about them. lol

  35. leafy says:

    Again, if you missed it, Damian Cox does NOT agree with your assessment of Toronto's goaltending.  He clearly indicates that it is a major problem.  Thoughts?


  36. leafy says:

    I could not disagree more.

    First of all, Winfield in '92 asked for "more noise", not to stop the booing.

    Secondly, a highly paid professional athlete has to play well to be cheered, not the other way around.

    Look, the fans are NOT idiots.  The Maple Leaf fans in particular are arguably the most knowledgeable fans anywhere.  If the crowd doesn't chant "Razor, Razor", there's a good reason – he's no bloody good.

    Furthermore, did you see yesterday's online poll on thestar.com conducted BEFORE the game?  The vast majority of respondents said that improved goaltending will be the key this year.  These people represent the silent majority.  In a democracy, the silent majority rule!!!

  37. I_AM_CANADIAN says:

    Well, in any case, it just proved again that Raycroft isn't an NHL starter…  If anyone was still confused about that, that is.

  38. mojo19 says:

    Exactly. I sincerely hope he plays better than that, and Maurice uses him mostly against teams with weaker forwards so Raycroft isn't completely useless.

  39. leafy says:

    It's utterly amazing how many people can't see the obvious.  Then again, there are many who still believe the war in Iraq was a good idea.

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