Saturday, November 15, 2014

Two Andrew Raycroft Authentic Fabrics Jersey Cards

After the Boston Bruins got demolished by the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, many thought Tuukka Rask would get a chance to redeem himself the next day against the Montréal Canadiens, but because they've certainly got his number, he had to sit out the 5-1 correction the Habs gave the Teddy Bears.

That brought memories of this great video of one of my favourite goalies growing up, Andy Moog:

And it got me thinking both about the Bruins' fluid - to say the least - goaltending situation over the last 30 years, how they've had flash-in-the-pan, one-year-and-out successes, two Vezina winners, a few #1s who'd had success elsewhere and yet failed in Boston, and a slew of young guys they just burned along the way.

And I will feature some from each category in the near future, starting with 2003-04 Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft.

In 57 games in 2003-04, Raycroft posted a 29-18-9 record with a 2.05 GAA and a terrific .926 save percentage. He won Rookie Of The Year honors ahead of the Habs' Michael Ryder, who was the leading scorer among rookies with 25 goals and 63 points in 81 games. Raycroft also finished 5th in Vezina voting that year (Miikka Kiprusoff, who had a 24-10-4 record, 1.69 GAA and .933 save % deserved it, but it went to Martin Brodeur; Roberto Luongo finished third with a 2.43 GAA and .931 save % on a lowly Florida Panthers team that for all his heroics, he could only bring to a 25-33-14 record).

The following season was the NHL lockout, so Raycroft couldn't build on his first year, and instead signed in Sweden (where he didn't play) then in Finland, appearing in just 11 games. When NHL play resumed, like many NHL goalies, he was rusty and slumped through the first few month, allowing Tim Thomas to take over the starting role, and even falling behind Hannu Toivonen at some point.

In the summer of 2006, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for... Rask. It has been said the Bs would have taken Justin Pogge in return, but the Leafs chose to send Rask instead, because Pogge was taller (at that point), a year further in his development, and was a Team Canada alumni at the World Juniors.

Raycroft's time in Toronto was marred by fan and journalist criticism, and while he was no Curtis Joseph or Ed Belfour, he did manage to tie Belfour's team record of 37 wins in a single season (granted, Belfour achieved this prior to shootouts taking away the possibility of a tie, and in fewer games; he did however, have a much stronger team in front of him, comprised of half a dozen potential or since-inducted Hall Of Famers, so in my opinion, both achievements are equal).

Following that, he finished his NHL career as a backup with the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver Canucks, and Dallas Stars, before playing a season each in Italy and Sweden. He announced his retirement following a shootout win last April.

I bought a lot of Upper Deck's 2005-06 SP Game-Used Edition packs and boxes back in the day, and I have two of these jersey cards featuring Raycroft wearing the Bruins' black (away) uniform, which is #AF-AR in the set, from the Authentic Fabrics sub-set:
I like that I have both a black and a white swatch to show for my impulse-buying nearly a decade ago; it'd be nice to have a yellow one, too, to complete the set at least, considering I was never a huge fan of his, being a Habs supporter and all.

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