By The Meatriarchy
If you read the copious amounts of ink spilled in the local papers or listen to the amount of hot air expended via the local radio stations about the supposed failings of the Leafs, their coach, their GM and the organization in general you will hear a lot of criticism.
You will hear about how they never have gotten a decent winger to play with Sundin, how Quinn limits Sundin's production by limiting his ice time, how Wellwood should stay with the big club, how Wellwood should be sent down, how the team is old, slow, brittle, weak on defense and on and on and on.
However you rarely hear about a glaring weakness that this team has which was readily apparent on Sunday afternoon. And that is the one position that is a lot more easily fixed than some of the other problems.
I talking about the back up goalie position. Mikael Tellqvist has been with the organization for at least three years now and while he has shown some flashes of potential he never has played well over a consistent stretch of time.
Tellqvist doesn't have the most difficult job in the world. He has the best seat in the house for every hockey game and he gets paid a handsome salary to sit on the end of the bench most nights.
But when he is called upon to actually earn his paycheque one would expect better performances out of him if he has any aspirations of being a regular NHL goalie on any team in this league.
Too many times over the past three years the Leafs have skated out against inferior opponents only to have soft goals take away potential victories.
On Sunday afternoon Telly looked horrible on two of the four Capital goals and didn't exactly stand on his head for the rest of the engagement either.
The Leafs can't afford to give away two points every time Belfour rests - no team can. And you can't tell me there aren't better options around the league than Tellqvist.
A few years ago the Leafs had a very capable backup netminder in Corey Schwab. That guy played his heart out every time he was asked to. I can't recall a single game (well the one earlier this year against Philly) in his entire career that Tellqvist has looked brilliant from start to finish.
And I say this with some trepidation because from what I see of him in interviews he seems like a genuinely nice person and I don't want to criticize someone who is obviously classy when there are plenty of other jerks in pro-sport to go after.
But the fact remains that this is a very weak position for the Leafs and it needs to be addressed soon if this team wants to make the playoffs. There are probably 20 games that Belfour won't start this year. That is 40 points you can't afford to automatically give away.
Over to you JFJ.