Target still on Raycroft

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Two weeks ago they were ready to hand Andrew Raycroft the Vezina Trophy.

Now they want to beat him over the head with it.

Such is the fickle life of tending goal for the Maple Leafs, where every goal, every save, every whiff is disected by fans and media alike.

In his past six starts Raycroft has stopped 146 of 170 shots, a rather unflattering save percentage of .859. On the season, his numbers have ballooned to a goals-against average of 3.23 and a .893 save percentage.

So is he the guy who started the season resembling the 2004 Calder Trophy winner as the league's top rookie? Or the goalie who struggled last season and ended up riding the pines?

While the jury still is out, at least the Belleville native has maintained his confidence.

"I probably get too much credit when we win and too much blame when we lose," Raycroft said yesterday. "That's the nature of the position. I'm fine with it. I understand it. If I can go home and look myself in the mirror and feel I did everything I could, then I can live with it.

"The past couple of games we got beat up pretty good. It's going to happen."

Coach Paul Maurice certainly hasn't lost faith in his No. 1 goalie.

"I'd be surprised if any of you watched any of those games and said, 'Geez, your goaltending has been bad,'" Maurice said. "There's a couple in each game where we can start nitpicking but none of us are looking at the stats and judging Andew Raycroft."

In a bizarre twist yesterday, backup J-S Aubin, who grew up just outside Montreal, told reporters he would be starting against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

When informed of Aubin's comments, however, Maurice said he had not yet made that decision.

"It's pretty special," Aubin said when asked about playing in Montreal."I guess I'll have a lot of time to think about it. You try to block it out and not think about your friends watching."


Videos

Photos