It will be a relief to some that I've yet to see Andrew Raycroft's picture on a milk carton (yes, Mrs.Raycroft, I'm sure he's okay). I drink a lot of milk (for healthy bones) so I would be the first to know were he missing from anywhere outside of the rink.
But missing on the rink he is. He hasn't started a game in what seems to be ages (November 18th I believe, but I've been wrong before). Now that any dreams (delusions?) of a playoff spot are firmly dissolved I think its time to get Andrew some action.
Now before you go jumping on me for advocating tanking the season for a draft pick let's have a dose of reality. After this hot finish, there's no way the Leafs are getting the first overall pick... there's no point in trying to lose. But there's also no point in burning out Vesa Toskala. Brodeur, Nabokhov, and Luongo play A LOT... it doesn't mean a guy who's never broken forty starts before now should be forced to double his former career high.
Raycroft is a huge disappointment. His failings in goal forced JFJ to acquire Toskala in yet another costly draft day trade. But throughout this entire ugly situation, he has been nothing if not loyal. I have heard nary a negative word from him in the zealous Toronto media, more than I can say for Jason Blake. Raycroft has not played well this year, but even when he was ineffective last year, he usually gave the Leafs a reasonable chance to win... he seemed to make saves, just not THE saves that as dysfunctional a team as this needs to succeed. Granted he wasn't the answer, but he also wasn't the sole problem. By my recollection he outplayed a badly fading Eddie Belfour from the year before.
I like Raycroft, he's a good earnest guy, and I wish that things could have worked out in Toronto for him. There is no conceivable way he is going to return next year to the Toronto Maple Leafs (the Marlies are a looming possibility). So why not give him a couple of the remaining games just to give Vesa a break and maybe give him a reason to take off that ballcap. There are just a handful of games left, give Andrew a third of them and just step back and breath. This team has been pretty hot of late (with the exception of the Boston series) and it seems although they might just as easily win with (in spite of?) Raycroft in the pipes. If he wins, great... maybe the guy can manage a smile while his career circles the bowl on the way down. If he loses, c'est la vie... the season is done... the worst case scenario is that the Leafs draft higher because of it.