Thread: So Much Hatred
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10-30-2010, 11:17 AM
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Perception is certainly a huge issue in the Heighton parade: the Emery injury last year was just another push to the goalie carousel that has been going on for far too long in this franchise. So when Paul Holmgren reached out to the waiver wire -- from the last-place team, to boot -- to plug the hole, Leighton became the poster boy for Holmgren's failure in securing a superior goaltender for a team with reasonable Stanley Cup dreams.

Then the team and Boucher falter, and the journeyman is the #1. The expectation is that he will continue to provide mediocre goaltending, as per his career to this point. Even as the team finds its game and starts winning, we can't help but wait for the other shoe to fall. Plus, there's enough circumstantial evidence with juicy rebounds and weak goals at critical moments that feed the notion that Leighton is just benefitting from a great D corps.

Then came the ugliness in the SC finals. I think it's overblown myself. Game 1 was awful, but Leighton did stand out for long stretches when the rest of the team was just skating in circles. However, that Cup-winning goal has to be among the low moments of my sports fandom in any sport.

Add to that this off-season, when every advantage is on Paul Holmgren's side to sign a more proven goaltender at a bargain-basement price, he inexplicably signs Leighton before FA even begins.

Finally, we get word that Leighton has a significant back injury, for which the first signs appeared in the playoffs last year (ie, before he signed his new contract), and the angry mob are grabbing for torches and pitchforks.

So like others have said, Michael Leighton would make a very likable back-up, but has shown himself to be underwhelming as the starter for a team that is all-in for a Stanley Cup.

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