Friday, March 16, 2007

On the IR

Posting may get a bit more sparse around here and the typos might become even more prevalent as I suffered an undisclosed upper body injury last night.

Or in more simple terms: I busted my clavicle.

Caught a rut near the crease on the forecheck and kissed the end boards hard. I knew something was busted as soon as I got up and headed for the bench...the right side of my chest felt like an accordion, swinging and swaying as I skated off the ice. Six to eight weeks in a sling (that's 2 months of typing one-handed) and bi-weekly visits to the fracture clinic.

Raycrot's Record
A big topic in Leaf Land is Raycroft's chance to break the single season wins record, currently held by Ed "billion dollar" Belfour.

Eddie posted 37 wins in 62 matches back in 2002-03, breaking Cujo's mark of 36 wins in 63 games set in 1999-00. The Star, Sun and CP have all filed on this in the past few days.

I really hope Raycroft smashes the record as the Leafs need every win they can get (seems like this team has been in a must-win situation since Christmas). That said, I find it very interesting that my first reaction to this news is to dismiss it by looking at the math.

If Raycroft sets a new Leaf record, and given how erratic his play has been this season it's by no means a certainty, the number of games he's played certainly needs to be factored in. With 12 games left to go, I imagine Raycroft will break Eddie's record around the 68 or 69 game mark. That's nearly 10% more hockey than Eddie needed to set the record.

Also to be considered: three (or four?) of Raycroft's wins have come in the shoot-out, which didn't exist when Cujo and Belfour set their respective records.

So, Raycroft may set the record, but he'll do it with a poorer winning percentage and the added assistance of the shoot-out...

Sundin and Sittler

With his next goal, Sundin will match Darryl Sittler's record of 388 goals as a Leaf. I think this is just fantastic news and I really hope the mighty Swede breaks the record in Montreal on Saturday night. Nothing like bagging the historic goal in a big game between such storied rivals in such a great hockey town.

Compare and Contrast

Unlike Raycroft's record, my first reaction to Sundin's news wasn't to question the math (Sittler played 844 games for the Leafs, by Saturday night Sundin will have played 850). Nor did I immediately think about how the introduction of regular season overtime in 1983-84, two years after Sittler left the Leafs, might have affected Sundin's stats.

Why the different reactions?

I think first and foremost it's because Raycrofts other stats, which I would argue are more indicative of a goalie's play, are terrible: his save percentage and goals against are among the worst in the league. Sundin, meanwhile, has been one of the most consistent players in the NHL during his career.

Secondly, there's a stink of PR desperation to the media coverage surrounding Raycroft and the potential record - especially the piece by Jody Vance. Ugh.

And finally, and perhaps not fairly, I can't help but wonder where this team might be had they received a higher calibre of goaltending. They certainly wouldn't be in 9th place, having to play desperate hockey each and every night. Raycroft has been nothing if inconsistent this year, which has really hurt the club, so it's rather ironic that such inconsistent play may result with his name in the record books.

Or as A.J. Liebling so eloquently said, "I think it's immoral for a man without talent to get too far."


  1. Another item to consider when wondering 'what if' is the health of Wellwood who stepped into Allison's role and produced. Ever since his and Tucker's injury the PP has went south fast, from top 5 to middle of the pack. Cox failed to note this in his Thursday mail-bag this week, and given his redefinition of late, I was surprised he didn't provide this slack.

    Did you happen to catch Jody Vance earlier this year on Leafs' TV in a neck tie and jacket? That might've been worth the subscription, not that I have to pay for Leafs' TV myself. Center Ice is expensive enough.

    Shame about the collar bone. Hope you got some good meds to deal with the pain.

  2. With all the other challenges facing the Leafs this year, I never would have imagined they'd be hit this hard by the injury bug. It's the one variable that cannot be accounted for the meds, I got a big bottle of Tylenol 3s to tide me over. So far, so good...