Once upon a time, Andrew Raycroft was good at hockey. Believe it.
I still remember that 2003-04 season like it was yesterday. Stat line of 2.05/.926. A whopping 29 wins in 57 games. Bruins win the division and the East, then go up three games to one on the Habs in the first round. Then Razor gives up five goals, five goals and two goals in the final three games and the Bruins lose.
Raycroft still won the Calder, but he was officially cooked after that. The year after the lockout, his stats went from those above to 3.71/.879 in 30 games, of which he lost 19. The Bruins actually found a buyer for his sorry carcass and traded him to Toronto in the offseason (for Tuukka Rask, if you can believe that).
After two sorry, pitiable years with the Leafs (lines of 2.99/.894 in 72 games and 3.92/.876 in 19), he signed with the Avalanche in the offseason and has put up numbers that, as far as horror goes, are more Lovecraftian than Raycroftian.
Tonight has to have been the final nail in what was once such a promising career. In RELIEF of Peter Budaj, who gave up three goals on 21 shots in just under 40 minutes, Raycroft gave up four goals on eight shots, and the Avalanche lost to the Ducks 7-2 as this campaign (which in many ways resembles the Bataan Deathmarch) winds to a merciful close.
The only Rayzor any NHL teams will be looking for this offseason are of the “safety” variety so poor Andrew doesn’t do anything untoward on a grey November morning.
If this were an episode of “The Wire,” Raycroft’s career would be lying on a pool table while McNulty and Co. sang Pogues songs deep into the night. But it’s not “The Wire.” Andrew Raycroft isn’t a fictional character, no matter how evocative his goaltending style is of Greg Goldberg in the first 30 minutes of The Mighty Ducks.
This is a person we’re talking about. A person that’s as fit to be an NHL goaltender as you or I.
And that’s real goddamn sad.
Buffalo 5, Florida 3
Okay so the Panthers’ playoff hopes aren’t quite as DOA as Raycroft’s career, but now that they’re losing to Buffalo, the beeps on that heart monitor are growing more and more distant. This franchise can survive NINE years without a playoff berth, right?
Minnesota 6, New York Islanders 2
I think whoever signs this Marian Gaborik guy in the offseason is going to be unstoppable for the 11 games he’s healthy. Two goals and two assists for Gabby tonight bumps his season total to 6-4-10 in nine games, and 3-2-5 since his comeback three games ago. Minnesota’s also 6-2-1 in games he’s actually played in this year. So he’s a valuable player. God, Minnesota really needs to sign him.
Carolina 2, Ottawa 1
When the hell did Anton Babchuk get to 13 goals? Jesus.
Pittsburgh 2, Calgary 0
Calgary: 0 for 5 on the power play. Awesome possum. This is honestly the most mystifying team in the National Hockey League. Hand it to Dallas in Calgary, lose to St. Louis in Calgary. Beat Detroit in Calgary, get shut out by Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. Oh and they have another game tomorrow in Columbus? Greeeeeeeat. They always do so well in back-to-backs, especially on the road.
Chicago 6, San Jose 5 (OT)
Chicago actually led 3-1 after like 10 minutes, but the Sharks mounted one hell of a crazy-ass comeback to force OT and somehow steal a point. And if you guessed that Dave Bolland would have more points than anyone else in a game featuring Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Toews, Martin Havlat and Pat Kane, you’re much smarter than everyone else.