Well Leaf nation (and all you wayward fans of other teams). Where do the Leafs go from here? The season is half over, they buds are on the cusp of a playoffspot and are playing as inconsistant as Donald Trumps hair line (zing!).
As most Leaf fans know, there are actually two Leaf teams. The hard working, forchecking machine, lead by super-Swedish-meatball Mats Sundin-o-matic. This team is known to be able to beat any team in the NHL and soundly and blow out teams like the Bruins and Rangers with relative ease. Then there is the second Leafs team, the one that sufferes from poor defensive coverage and no pep in the shorts of the offensive lines. Not to mention when this team shows up, Andrew Razorcroft seems to have lapses in both confidence and judgement.
Solutions? The grapevine seems to state that maybe keeping as many of the present Marlies that are in the line up as possible, when injured players such as Tucker, Wellwood, and the Soviet Blocks retourn. At present this isnt much of an issue, bearing in mind that all but Pony don't look l ike they will be back anytime soon. Will this help? Possible, but it is not the answer, you need your most skilled players in the line up....they just have to work, figure out how to do that and the Buds will be A-Ok (notice I didn't say anything bad about Belak...theres a first).
Goaltending. Another major issue. Raycroft has been the whipping boy and it is not totally undeserved as he has a tendancy to let in atleast one bad goal a game, usually at the worst possible time. He is also critisized for not being a game breaker like previous Leaf netminders Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph were known to be when the chips were down in The T-Dot. Lets analize that. Comming into Toronto, both Cujo and the Eagle were proven number one goaltenders in their mid to late 30's, they had nothing to prove they were also used to vasts ammounts of pressure and relished in it, hell they are both pretty much guarenteed spots in the hall of fame. Raycroft is a kid, comming off a very rough, very discouraging season where he was treated like an outhouse by the Bruins. The thing is, he has the tallent, more than proven by his rookie season. All Raycroft needs too become all he can be is some time and some convidence, when he dosnt have the jitters, he shows the potential underneath.
Solutions? Sorry JS Aubin, you are not it, you are a part of it, but not it. Aubin is good for what he does at present. Beinga steady, experianced back up who can step into a game and preform competantly. Contrary to what many Leafs 'Faithful' have stated, he is not the saviour, he is not a replacement, he is not a number one goaltender. Sure he got on a roll at the end of last season, but what does that mean in the long run? How about this season? What has he done for me latly? He has been steady, but less that spectacular. Give Andrew Razorcroft some time, and your support. The Leaf twine will be fine.
Now go get those friggen Hurricanes.