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January 18, 2011

Cujo`s Comeback: Sweet Victory!

Curtis Joseph did not have a home at the beginning of the NHL season. After a few years of being shuffled through the Detroit and Phoenix systems, Joseph, an experienced goaltender who seemed to be getting the short end of the stick, was left out in the cold. When Dominik Hasek came out of retirement the Wings were ready to wash their hands of him until Hasek suffered an injury. Phoenix, an up and coming team did not really seem like a good fit for Cujo and in the end, they did not renew his contract. So what does a goaltender that does not have a home do? Well, if he wants to play in the NHL again he makes it happen. No questions asked he finds his way back because he wants that more than anything else in the world.

I have been a Cujo fan since his Leaf days. I hated to see him come to Detroit and get blamed for the Wings playoff upset in which the team scored something like four goals for the entire series. I was also angry that when Cujo expressed interest in coming back to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team did not pick him up. Even after Cujo said that he would be perfectly fine with a smaller contract and back up duties, the Leafs, a team that really doesn’t have a backup goaltender right now, overlooked him. When the season began and he was not on a team, I wondered if I had seen the last of Cujo.

We don’t get much in the way of hockey coverage in the States so I had to rely on Don Cherry to inform me that Cujo was playing in the Spengler Cup. As soon as I heard that Cujo was playing in the tournament I thought that Cujo might be able to find a home somewhere in the NHL. After Canada won the Spengler Cup championship, I was sure that a smart team would be signing Cujo soon. And who was that smart team? The Calgary Flames of course.

Last night I was elated to see that Cujo was in net for the Flames. I watched him play, in relief of Kiprusoff, in Anaheim the night before and thought that he looked very good. But the Flames lost that game and even though it was in no way Cujo’s fault, I really wanted to see him get a win. At the end of the day, no matter what team he is playing for, I find myself pulling for the guy. Of course it helps that he is playing for the Flames, the most exciting team to watch these days. So Curtis Joseph is back and he looks very good. His style seems slightly altered from what it was when I used to watch him defend the Leaf goal night after night but different is not bad, it’s just different. Not only did he get the win he also passed Terry Sawchuk for all-time wins in the NHL last night.

Cujo has been an All Star three times in his career, he has won a gold medal with Team Canada, Spengler Cup and be awarded the King Clancy Memorial Trophy. Only the Stanley Cup has eluded him. The Flames are an elite team and with all of the talent and genius they have behind the bench, in the front office and on the ice, this could be the team that finally helps Cujo get exactly what he deserves. Wouldn’t it be perfect to see Cujo finally get the icing on his cake with a Stanley Cup win by the Flames this year?

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