[Every once in a while a FanPost makes me wish I'd done the research myself and posted the information first. This is one such FanPost. Pension Plan Puppets takes time to share with us the Leafs' fan experience (and some stats) of new Avalanche backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft. Read it and weep. -Joe]
Joe brought up this Adrian Dater blog post last week and I meant to post this then but real-life intervened so bear with me as I proceed to create the same sense of dread in Avs fans as my fellow Leaf fans felt all last season knowing that Mr. Raycroft could go in net at any moment. All you need to know to make you pucker up at the thought of seeing "Starting Goalie - A. Raycroft" on a game sheet can be found in the archives at my site...
Basically, the former Calder Trophy winner is excited to be coming to the Avs and glad to be out of Toronto. Raycroft ripped the Toronto media some, for taking comments he made about not watching much hockey away from the rink and branding him as a guy who isn’t dedicated to the game. "I made it to the NHL and have spent the last 20 years of my life dedicated to hockey. I think that shows some commitment," Raycroft said.
To be fair to Raycroft in regards to what’s being quoted, he’s correct, the reason he sucked wasn’t because he didn’t watch enough hockey. He sucks because he is terrible at hockey.
He said he’s looking forward to working with a full-time goalie coach in Jeff Hackett, instead of just a part-timer like the Leafs had, in Bob Essensa. He said he’s working out hard this summer, and is currently in Denver looking for a place for the coming year.
Down Goes Brown:
I found one reference to Essensa having a stint as the Bruins goalie coach. Maybe the reporter is confused.
Wait… is it possible that Raycroft thought a guy who worked for the Bruins was still his goalie coach? Shit, that would explain so much!
"Andrew, on those high shots, you really need to work on keeping your glove hand down by your side."
Turns out that either Dater or Raycroft had no clue what he was talking about as Raycroft did have a full-time goalie coach during his time in Toronto and it was not Bob Essensa but Steve McKichan. Of course, maybe Andrew wanted to fudge the facts to make it seem like he might have a chance to improve on his 3.92 GAA, .876 Sv% and 2-9-5 record.
His overall assessment of his future: "I know I still have it."
That wouldn't be so funny if he had actually just had one down year. However, courtesy of JavaGeek, here are a couple of graphs that illustrate just how bad the 2006-2007 season was for Andy. Remember, this was the year that he set the Leafs' record for wins in a season with 37 and it certainly helps to fight the argument that he sucked because the Leafs were terrible (they were but Raycroft's crappiness came independent of the Leafs').
.791 Sv% on his glove hand? Maybe DGB's theory was right. Here's another looking at shots from different areas on the ice:
Basically, Raycroft has trouble stopping any shots that came from prime scoring areas on the ice. How much trouble? Well, a look at expected GAA and Sv% shows that Raycroft was the worst in the league before Christmas last season. He gave up almost 1 goal more per game than should be expected based on where he faced the shots. Sure, it's just 10 games but I promise you nothing happened over the second half of the season that would have improved that stat. The weird stat from Behind The Net? He was better than expected 5 on 4. Then again, Andy Wozniewski was a +5 last year so sometimes stats run counter-intuitive to reality.
And how were the end days of the Raycroft era in Toronto received?
Andrew Raycroft, seen here doing the only thing he's good at (staring incredulously at pucks in the net), was waived by the Leafs today. Let's all join hands, look up at the sky and say "thank you God, or Cliff, or the spirit of Conn Smythe or whoever".
In the "write-your-own-punch line" category the Avalanche have signed Andrew "exploding glove" Raycroft to a one-year deal. I can only conclude they can't get Centre Ice TV, the Internet, radio or newspapers in Denver.
So make sure that you pray/sacrifice/hope every night to ensure that Peter Budaj remains healthy and that Andrew Raycroft's shadow does not darken the Avalanche's crease because I would hate to see another fan base fall victim to his special brand of laissez-in goaltending and "could not care less" approach to hockey.