Friday, November 23, 2007


Long before he met John Ferguson Jr., Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft had another general manager of a championship-starved hockey club in thrall. From a feature on the gentleman from Verona, Dallas Stars goalie Mike Smith:

"That season, Raycroft was the Canadian junior goaltender of the year. He played in 61 of the Frontenacs' 68 games, leaving little action for rookie Smith.

"I remember the next year I was traded to the Sudbury Wolves," said Smith, whose Stars will play host to the Leafs at the American Airlines Center tonight. "Sudbury was coached by Bert Templeton that year and he called his buddy Brian Kilrea (the Ottawa 67's coach) for a scouting report on me.

"Killer apparently told Bert: 'How the heck should I know. I don't
even think Mav (Kingston coach Larry Mavety) uses the kid in the practice.' "
Like a lot of things in 1999-2000 -- bracing for Y2K, Lou Bega hitting the charts, the Fox Network greenlighting Who Wants To Marry a Multi-Millionaire -- it probably made sense at the time to go with Raycroft, while a young Mike Smith played left out.

Almost eight years later, it's hilarious to see the Frontenacs GM-for-life get zinged in the pages of the Canada's National Newspaper by a former player who's in a much better place. Picture Mavety grousing, a la Abe Simpson, "Ah, I'm a livin' joke."

In fairness, Raycroft was a great junior hockey goaltender, though. Many Leafs fans would say that at age 27, he still is one.

Fortunately for the Fronts, Mavety learned his lessons with goalies named Mike from small communities north of Kingston. So in 2005, he took a pass on drafting Mike Murphy from Inverary, so he wouldn't have to bury him on the bench. Murphy, naturally, was drafted by the Belleville Bulls, where he has blossomed into, statistically, one the top five goalies in the OHL this season.

Like his brother in pads down in Dallas, he too is in a much better place (especially if you like country music).

That's all for now. Send your thoughts to

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