Friday, January 4, 2008

Toskala is Key and Keeping Raycroft is Essential

In the Leafs recent struggles, a gaping hole, which never really left, has been re-exposed. Guess what it is? *Drum roll* Ladies and gentleman, I present to you.... The Leafs incapable and inconsistent defense! However, right up until Vesa Toskala's groin tweak, the Leafs defense was aided tremendously and Toskala was playing all-star quality to do it. Andrew Raycroft and Scott Clemmensen have thus taking over the reins... quite ineffectively I might add. Raycroft got the first go around... and failed. It ended with a 6-1 drubbing to the Rangers, which wasn't his fault but he didn't help either. So in come Scott Clemmensen, a goaltender some Leafs fans think should replace Raycroft as back-up because his salary is cheaper on our cap... I'll get back to that in a bit. Clemmensen fared okay in his first game, which earned him a second consecutive start which saw him face the Pittsburgh Penguins. He started good, but quickly faded. The game ended 6-2, and Clemmenson was awful.

Replacing Andrew Raycroft with Scott Clemmensen would be a mistake. While the Raycroft experiment has failed in Toronto, he is still a decent back-up and he's certainly better than his recent play suggests. Scott Clemmensen on the other hand... is not good enough to even be a career back-up. At age 30, he started this season playing in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies. Last season, he took on a minimal amount of games with the New Jersey Devils and put up a 3.14 GAA and a .889 SV% on a defensively stacked team. I'm sorry... but something is obviously wrong there. He just can't cut it, and with Vesa Toskala's history of groin injuries, we need a capable back-up to fill in for his absence, preferably a short one. Raycroft is that guy. We missed the playoffs by one point last season with him in net for 72 games... so its not an overly risky move. To sum it up, Andrew Raycroft is better than Scott Clemmensen, period.

My personal opinion is that we will fail to reach the playoffs. Our only hope is Vesa Toskala and it's teetering on his health. With him, we at least contend for the 8th spot... without get the current results.

Until next time. Up, up and awwaayy!