The Avs came away with 2 points in their latest match against the Blackhawks, arguably the best young team in hockey. Aside from the up tempo new style Avs fans have seen of late, Andrew Raycroft has been steadily making his case for the #1 job which has been held by Peter Budaj. Now critics (and most hockey fans) will agree that Raycroft sucks. Yes, this is sadly true however, Raycroft has found ways to win games for the Avalanche, which in the end is what counts most. Budaj has been terribly inconsistent and for the most part of his career Raycroft has been consistently terrible, but the good news is his play has actually been getting progressively better.
The big difference, in my opinion, between the two goalies is significant. Raycroft is quicker and more aggressive than Budaj. One more thing is that Raycroft has better lateral movement, Budaj letting in alot of goals going from side to side (somtimes its as if he stops in between before continuing his motion). The one thing Budaj does have on Raycroft is confidence and positioning, which have worked well for him from time to time. The Avalanche have given Budaj ample opportunity to take the reins, but it looks like the time has come to let someone else atleast get the playing time to try and resurrect his career.
Like Theo, Raycroft is playing for his career (his contract up at the end of the year) and the Avs will most definitely benefit from this and perhaps even long term if they wish. By no means am I a Raycroft homer, I am simply tired of what I've seen with Budaj. Now I shouldn't put all the blame on him, because he has lost games that he has played terrific hockey in, however if the team plays better in front of Raycroft, you pretty much need to roll with what works - that is if we do intend on making the playoffs, which is debatable and another blog for another time.
Raycroft will start against the Penguins on Saturday and once again our goalie controversy in Denver will start up. I for one don't see it as a controversy at all. We had two goalies coming into the season, neither of which good enough to start. Times just showing us that the veteran experience may be shining through...but if Raycroft screws this up I take it all back.