1) It will probably come as little surprise to most who follow the NHL closely, but it appears that Curtis Joseph's epitaph may have been written a bit prematurely. Written off as too old to make a come back, the 40 year old Ontario native after getting rebuffed by all 30 NHL teams this past fall, including his most recent team the Coyotes, went home to stay in shape and hope for a call.
2) The future Hall of Famer, who needs only 2 more NHL victory to surpass legendary Terry Sawchuk for 4th all-time, recently got significant attention by back stopping Canada to a Spengler Cup win in December. As most south of the border ask: What is the Spengler Cup? We were surprised to find out with our research that the Spengler Cup, held annually since 1923, is the oldest professional international hockey tournament in the world. Canada's Spengler Cup roster consisted mainly of Canadian-born players currently playing in Europe and some NHL prospects. Joseph was instrumental in bringing his country the honor of a Spenglar Cup championship
3) Unfortunately CUJO, in his long career has been unable to acquire hockey's ultimate Cup. The one donated by Lord Stanley. Despite some playoff heroics for St.Louis and later Edmonton, 'The Cup' remained elusive for Joesph. However, he has probably been one of the better/more durable tenders to put on the pads the past 20 years, playing 60+ games 10 times over his 17 year career. Which is why there are now several teams very interested in his services.
4) There have already been several published reports of an impending return to Toronto. Not only do almost all NHL rumors start in that area, but it also makes sense. The Leafs haven't received overly good goaltending this season, and Cujo lives close by, so the fit seems to make sense. However, we at FAUXRUMORS have heard that although the Maple Leafs have expressed interest there are another 6 or more teams that have also contacted Joseph's agent, Don Meehan.
5) So who's interested and what are the odds? We inquired from some of our sources throughout the league and this is what we can gleam/handicap from those contacts.
- Toronto: Their interest isn't as intense as media reports suggest. They would have to trade Raycroft before signing Joseph, and Raycrofts value has plummeted in the last year or so.
- Ottawa: From what we're told they were inquiring in September about CuJo, but like Toronto couldn't sign Joseph unless they first unloaded a goalie under contract. Gerber was that guy in training camp, now the Sens would LOVE to unload the moody, inconsistent Ray Emory. Of course his 3+ mil cap hit for this and the next 2 seasons make him less tradeable.
- Pittsburgh: They were inquiring a few times about another former NHL-er, Ed Belfour. They thought they had struck an accord with the former Panther, but details snagged/derailed negotiations. The Pens would love to add CuJo and add stability to the goaltending and possibly a mentor to M-A Fleury.
- Phoenix: Now that the Coyotes have filled the starters role, they'd love to have a reliable back up for Bryzgalov. Joseph enjoyed his playing days in the desert and he and Gretzky have stayed in contact since his departure.
- LA: A dark horse now that they have fallen out of the playoff race. They probably should have looked into this option 3 months ago when it appeared that Clouteir wasn't the guy and Bernier wasn't ready.
- Buffalo: The Sabres haven't been pleased with the back up capabilities of Thibault, and don't want to over work Miller, so they are quietly asking how much Joseph would cost. As Jocelyn is on a one year deal, discarding him via waivers would not be a problem.
- Carolina: Another team in search of anyone who can stop a puck. Recently showed their desperation by signing Mike Leighton. The addition of CuJo might finally give some stability to this weak position. At least reduce the pressure from starter Cam Ward.
- Rangers: Though publicly they say they are pleased with Valiquette, quietly have been discussing 'other options'. CuJo coming to Broadway though "is a long shot", our source indicated.
- Calgary: Would Cujo want to return to Alberta to play for the rival Flames AND for Keenan? Our sources say its a possibility if things can get worked out. CuJo wouldn't be expected to start too many games and would be more insurance for a Kippper injury than anything, but the idea intrigued the Joseph camp.
6) What appears certain is that Curtis Jospeh's NHL career is NOT over. With so many teams trying to persuade him to play, it seems only a matter of time before he's back between the pipes. We're told that a decision is likely sooner rather than later, and certainly well before the All Star game