Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Monster has to go

Marlies goalie Jonas Gustavsson who was in the spotlight after he was pulled following the first period due to an elevated heart rate.

Brian Burke has made some brilliant moves including picking up Dion Phaneuf and Keith Aulie for spare parts, Joffrey Lupul and Jake Gardiner for Francois Beauchemin, Joe Colborne and two draft picks for Tomas Kaberle, and Matthew Lombardi and Cody Franson for nothing.

But he also has made some blunders. The problem is that Burke never admits to mistakes which means never mitigating your losses. For example he overpaid for Phil Kessel and the Leafs continue to throw Mike Komisarek in the lineup while Jeff Finger languishes in the minors because Komisarek is a Burke guy.

Yet for me the worst is goalie Jonas Gustavsson. In July 2009 Burke traveled to Sweden to sign the Sedins and instead returned with Gustavsson. He certainly was worth the gamble but at some point you have to fold your cards and walk away. He hasn't won a game in almost a year. He rarely gives up fewer than 4 goals which gives your team almost no chance of winning. He makes some good saves as he did last night but never enough to win the game.

There is always the excuses from the coaching staff - the team had no legs, the refs didn't give us any breaks, we had some bad luck. It's never Gustavsson's fault. It was the same thing with Andrew Raycroft and Vesa Toskala. Good goalies don't need their coach to make excuses for them when they lose. James Reimer accepts responsibility for his losses.

Maybe, just maybe he stinks. He is 27 years old and can't buy a win. Cam Ward is 27 with 175 wins in the NHL and a Stanley Cup ring.

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