Howie On Cujo Makes Little Sense…Surprised?

So Happy Howie, thinks it’s time for Cujo to hang them up. Or does he? His latest article seems to suggest there is a struggle within his own brain….

Howie starts by stating the obvious, that the buds were pretty brutal. Then he states how sad it is that Cujo didn’t stand on his head last night. Truth be told, Cujo was no worse then TosGoala has been lately.

“if Curtis would acknowledge that his days as an NHL-caliber goalie have come to an end. It is nothing at all to be ashamed of at age 41, and I find it disheartening to watch one of the Leafs’ most valued post-1967 assets hanging on for dear life at the end of his career.”

Look, it takes two to tango. Cliff made the offer, Cujo signed it. How, pres tel is he hanging on for dear life? Have any of you seen a report that he is unhappy or refusing to retire? Its not like, at least yet Burke or Wilson has hinted that he should move on and he is refusing! This is, once again, Howie making a story out of a non-story.

“There is no particular urgency for the Leafs to make a move with their back-up goaltending – nothing of significance hangs in the balance with Joseph floundering – but it would be sad, nonetheless, if Cujo were forced into retirement.”

Ummmm, ok, I am with you, I think…..

“This isn’t to suggest that Burke is anxious to pull the plug on Joseph, but neither is sentiment likely to stand in the way.”

Ok…there is a point here right?

“Having ruled out 29 other cities, it’s clear that Cujo simply wanted one last kick at the can. Unfortunately for him – and the multitudes that admired his brilliance in previous years [myself included] – there is no magic left.”

Wait just one second. It’s not like the guy wanted to go to a winner, or demand that he play for a cup contender. He stated all along it was Toronto or retire. I am not going to say the guy is ready to be a regular. However I am not dumb enough to suggest that anyone, including Berger himself thought similarly of Mr. Clemenson in NJ either. Cujo has been given spot duty at best (and that is no complaint). Giving a guy 2 starts in a row is hardly enough to say he is or isn’t a competent player any more then it is to say that he is. Again I am not bitching about Cujo’s lack of play. To suggest that he is over the hill isn’t news. He was signed to backup toskala. Has he been great? No. Has Toskala? No. What’s the story again?

“What needs to be determined is the direction Burke would take if Cujo were no longer on the scene. ”

Wait you just said there is no urgency. I am confused. Don’t you think Burke knows exactly what he would do in the event of “x” occurring?

“Much more fascinating will be Burke’s handling of Vesa Toskala and Justin Pogge. In the mind of coach Ron Wilson, Toskala is the undisputed No. 1 goalie on the hockey club… but to what end?”

No what be more fascinating would be Wilson’s handling of Tavaras and Nik Atropov. I mean why are we even talking about this right now.

“If I were Burke, I would strongly coerce Joseph into hanging up the pads and becoming a mentor to those that follow in the organization. I’d then call up Pogge and play the living daylights out of him for the better part of a month.”

Ummm, you just wrote 3 paragraphs prior “but it would be sad, nonetheless, if Cujo were forced into retirement” now you are asking Burke to do just that??!! The good news is that Berger isn’t Burke.

“As I’ve previously mentioned, it’s doubly important that Burke audition Pogge, given that Toskala has one season after this remaining on his contract. The GM will likely make a long-term decision on Toskala prior to the draft next June. How can he do that without having a grasp on Pogge’s NHL readiness?
The other possibility is that neither Toskala nor Pogge are capable of leading the Leafs into contention. But, Burke hasn’t yet played all his cards in that hand. To do so, he has to first move Joseph aside. And that will be much easier if the goalie, himself, comes to grips with his situation, and is able to fully appreciate his wonderful place in NHL history.”

I disagree. He first has to get Tosgoala to a point where he has some value, any value. He can’t worry about his number 2 or bury Toskala until he can trade him. Starting Pogge over Toskala does no good. You have to move Toskala first. To do that he needs value. This really isn’t rocket science. If only he watched a few out of town games….I wonder if he knew there was a game at Wrigley yesterday.

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