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Curtis Joseph Really an Effective Goaltender?

Shane HouseAnalyst IOctober 20, 2008

I know I am going to get in a lot of trouble for even asking this question, so I am going to just say first off that I wouldn't even care if he lost every game this year by four goals—I would still love Cujo always and forever as a great Leafs netminder.

But you have to look at reality sometimes, and sometimes that reality hurts. The truth of the situation is this: Curtis Joseph is getting old. He is 41 years old, and by season's end he will be 42.

Except for some cleanup duty against Montreal, he hasn't looked very good. He played three preseason games and posted a 0-2-0 record, with a 6.53 GAA and a .718 save percentage.

So far in the regular season he has started only one game and got merked with four goals on 25 shots. Even though it was against Pittsburgh, I have seen a much better Joseph before.

He does still have that ability to make the big save, which was seen a couple times in Saturday's loss to the Penguins. The highlight of the game for me was a beauty of a glove save in the first period. 

The thing that bothers me about this is that even though he still shows flashes of greatness, he also shows flashes of his age. When the puck is being passed around the net and players are flying around him, he often looks confused and has trouble keeping up with the play. He doesn't have the cat-like reflexes that I remember from the Cujo of the past.

So what does all this mean?

The good news is that Cujo is still a serviceable goaltender, just in a more menial role on the ice, which in turn means he is a good backup at this point in time.

I love Cujo, and I love seeing him in a Leafs uniform again. Every time he plays this year I will be watching with hopes of seeing that amazing player that brought us to the playoffs for so many years.

The sad fact remains that he is getting old, and even though he still shows those glimpses of greatness his play will be overshadowed by mediocrity. 

But one thing I can always count on is that when he is out there, he will be giving it his all—and that's what all Leafs fans love him for.

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