Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Is this the end for Cujo?

Curtis Joseph was at the Rogers Centre on Monday afternoon, and about three hours before game time, he was standing outside the Blue Jays' dugout, talking with some team personnel and getting an up-close look at Toronto's batting practice.

One of the regular beat guys pointed him out. "Hey, what's Cujo doing here?" to which I quipped, "maybe looking for a job."

My guess is he'd make a decent catcher.

Joseph didn't talk to the media — or, at least, none of us took the opportunity to bug him while he was with his family — so I'm afraid I don't have any insight from the source as to what his plans are for next season. Joseph makes his off-season home in Toronto, so it's not a huge surprise he was there at the game, and one of his agents from Newport Sports wasn't far off.

Cujo's in a similar situation to Jeremy Roenick in that he's on the cusp of a big milestone, just one win away from tying Terry Sawchuck for fourth place on the all-time wins list, and facing potential retirement. And, probably more so than Roenick, he's a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame at some point, whether this summer is the end or not.

I wrote earlier about the dearth of available jobs for goaltenders this season, something that puts veterans like Joseph on the outside looking in, and barring an early season injury and his willingness to move at the tweak of a groin, we've very well seen the last of one of the best netminders of the past 15-plus years.

He certainly looked in terrific shape for 40 (and living in Arizona has done wonders for his tan).

Cujo's also remarkably popular in this city, and received a nice round of applause when he was shown on the Jumbotron in the third inning. My guess is Andrew Raycroft wouldn't elicit quite the same response at this point.



At 1:11 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

Curtis Joseph a 'slam dunk' for the Hall of Fame? How so? With such a strong class of candidates in the near future, I can't see how Joseph fits in the Hall of Fame as anything but a weak candidate.

Overall win total impressive? Yes, but that's all he's got going for him. Only one major award (King Clancy), 3 All-Star games...

A very good goaltender, yes, but far from a slam-dunk. You'd have to come up with a pretty good case to let him in, unless you look purely at his win total.

Using that metric, CuJo is way down the list.

At 1:15 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Yeah, he's way behind Sandis Ozolinsh.

There's no way a netminder in the top five in wins doesn't get in at some point.

At 1:25 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger Doogie2K said...

Besides, look at some of the teams he played on, and in particular, the Oilers. The late 90s Oilers were mediocre at the best of times and he still won two playoff series against perennial contenders in Dallas and Colorado in that time. That was arguably the prime of his career, and if you stuck him a team that wasn't loaded with an above-average number of scrubs and well-meaning but undertalented grinders, he might've done something special in those years.

At 1:26 p.m., July 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's a great goalie, but not a Hall of Famer.

At 1:52 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

I would love to ask him how leaving for Detroit helped his career?

After recent inductions (Dick Duff especially) would you really be surprised if Cujo was in the HoF regardless of your personal viewpoint?

At 2:25 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger saskhab said...

Cujo will make the Hall, although probably not on his first ballot, mainly because he's a goalie who never won a Vezina, Jennings, Stanley Cup, or Conn Smythe.

Best option for him? Give Sather a call and see how comfortable he really is with Valiquette as his #2.

Some goalies are being left out because of bad long term contracts on other goalies (Denis, Theodore, Cloutier, Gerber). Cujo has to be aggressive if he wants to play another year, and accept a low salary, 1 year deal, and a bakcup gig. Or else he waits for a groin injury. Too bad for him that Mike Dunham is also unsigned... that reduces that possibility by about 500%.

At 2:58 p.m., July 25, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

I don't see how you can knock Cujo for trying to go to Detroit to win the cup. It worked for Bourque in Colorado. In hindsight it's really easy to say that, but no one knew all that garbage was going to happen in 2003.

At 6:09 p.m., July 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still fondly remember his time in Calgary. ;o)

At 8:04 p.m., July 25, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hall of famer? cujo? i can see the toronto bias eventually maybe getting either gilmour or sundin into the hall, but i can't imagine even being a leafs alum helping cujo, who was never a first or second team all-star and never made the finals, ever get in. too many goalies of his time were better than him. roy, hasek, and brodeur are obvious. then belfour. those are the four that really stood out during cujo's career. mike vernon would have to be higher than cujo in terms of HOF priority, ditto tom barrasso, mike richter. if you consider cujo a hall of famer, then that makes a strong case for john vanbiesbrouck, andy moog, and probably others i can't think of off the top of my head.

At 11:35 a.m., July 26, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

You don't think Sundin or Gilmour deserve to be in the HoF? Ha.

I think you can criticize CuJo for leaving what is essentially his hometown after a run to the ECF with a team that was a legitimate contender just because he sucked in the Olympics and wanted to get back at Quinn.

Screw it, I hope he doesn't in.


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