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Interesting Article on former Canuck Mason Raymond


Rick Grimes

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"Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mason Raymond was angry during the summer, and it turns out he had a good reason to be.

Raymond didn't doubt that he could still be a NHL player, even a top-six NHL player, but no one in a position of power was telling him the same thing. An unrestricted free agent, Raymond couldn't get a guaranteed contract before training camp began, a likely victim of the salary cap going down by approximately $6 million from the 2012-13 season.

"There are a couple of routes you could take in situations like that, but I believed in myself and my capabilities," Raymond told NHL.com. "To be honest, I had a pretty good year last year and that was a big part of it. There are a lot of what ifs, but I focused on what I had to do."He trained and waited. He stayed ready and optimistic that someone was going to call, that his NHL career would continue.

"You want to prove to everybody you're still worthy of a job in the NHL and make it look like other teams maybe should have grabbed you," Raymond said.

He's doing that now.

Raymond finally got his chance when Maple Leafs general manager Dave Nonis brought him to training camp on a professional tryout contract. Nonis drafted Raymond (No. 51) in 2005, when he was the general manager of the Vancouver Canucks. They trust each other, and so far Raymond has made Nonis' decision look like a genius move.

He was the Maple Leafs' leading scorer in the preseason with five points in five games and that earned him a one-year, $1 million contract. His production has carried over into the regular season. Raymond has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 15 games. He has helped Toronto win 10 of its first 15 games while playing in a top-six role.

"As the summer progressed, I thought I would go somewhere and find a new home for my family, and that wasn't the case," Raymond said. "I had to go in on a PTO, but it was an opportunity. It's a process. You go through those steps, and I believe in myself. Dave Nonis was exceptionally good to me and still is. He was a big part of why I went to Toronto."

Raymond said the mental part of changing homes and teams has been easy to deal with because it has been good for him. He likes having new teammates, a new coach and new surroundings. He feels re-energized him after six seasons with the Canucks, and he isn't surprised with how productive he has been so far.

"I totally believed I could do this, whether it was going in on a PTO or going in somewhere on a contract," Raymond said. "People don't like change, but change can be a good thing and it's been a great thing for myself and my family. I'm so grateful to be in Toronto to get the opportunity.

"Change was something that was needed, and I'm glad it has happened to me."

Raymond, though, won't allow himself to feel comfortable. It was a tough summer for him and his pride, but he learned that nothing is guaranteed in the NHL, no matter how good you think you are.

"I've learned a lot of things playing in the NHL, a ton of life lessons in and out of hockey," he said, "and one of them is getting comfortable can get you into trouble.""

From http://www.nhl.com/i...vid=DL|NHL|home

I found that last part to be interesting, I'm not sure if he's referring to the atmosphere in general, or AV - but I'm thrilled to see that MayRay has found his stride in TO.

Sadly, Vancouver was no longer the right fit, I think everybody knew it - fans included.

Mas will go on to be one helluva goalscorer for many years in the league thanks to the Vancouver Canucks system and will be a player I'll always keep an eye and ear on.

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It's another contract year for Raymond so of course he is trying. He did it in Van, he'll do it again in Toronto...disappear for 20-30 games on end.

I wasn't overly impressed with his play in the Laffers game on Saturday. But then none of the Laffers stood out as the Canucks absolutely dominated with every line.

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All things considered I would prefer to have Raymond than Booth right now.

Finally, someone has recognized a realism about this team.

Far too many in these forums were so overly critical of Raymond and his play. IMO Raymond was never a defensive or offensive liability to the Canucks. The last 11/2 years, he has been coming off a devastaing injury that would have set the Great Gretzky back a year but like they always do, the baby lamb Raymond haters followed the rest of the sheep up onto the bandwagon (for lack of a better term) because it is a Vancouver Canuck fan thing to do. They treat each and every player the same disdainful way, when that player does not measure up to the ridiculously high level of Vancouver fan expectency. However, those same fans will carry on a love relationship with the likes of Kassian who continues to find it difficult to consistently play hockey for longer than one hockey shift in the same game. Quite frankly, when asked, those same critics could not tell you what the difference is between a hockey stick and a broken skate lace. Now the light has been turned on, Raymond has put up some decent number for the "Laughs" and the overly critical fans of Raymond are now learning how "ya can really miss the water when the well runs dry."

Sorry Vancouver fans, sometimes when you don't really know what you have, the alternative can be far worse. But then again, those player hating Vancouver fans must have a real fettish about having fresh tooth marks in their butts year after year after year after year.

Whats that I hear - Cam Neely, Cody Hodgson and Mason Raymond saying hello to Vancouver fans. Aw...that's awful nice hey!!

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Finally, someone has recognized a realism about this team.

Far too many in these forums were so overly critical of Raymond and his play. IMO Raymond was never a defensive or offensive liability to the Canucks. The last 11/2 years, he has been coming off a devastaing injury that would have set the Great Gretzky back a year but like they always do, the baby lamb Raymond haters followed the rest of the sheep up onto the bandwagon (for lack of a better term) because it is a Vancouver Canuck fan thing to do. They treat each and every player the same disdainful way, when that player does not measure up to the ridiculously high level of Vancouver fan expectency. However, those same fans will carry on a love relationship with the likes of Kassian who continues to find it difficult to consistently play hockey for longer than one hockey shift in the same game. Quite frankly, when asked, those same critics could not tell you what the difference is between a hockey stick and a broken skate lace. Now the light has been turned on, Raymond has put up some decent number for the "Laughs" and the overly critical fans of Raymond are now learning how "ya can really miss the water when the well runs dry."

Sorry Vancouver fans, sometimes when you don't really know what you have, the alternative can be far worse. But then again, those player hating Vancouver fans must have a real fettish about having fresh tooth marks in their butts year after year after year after year.

Whats that I hear - Cam Neely, Cody Hodgson and Mason Raymond saying hello to Vancouver fans. Aw...that's awful nice hey!!

Every fan in Vancouver at the time was angry that Cam Neely was traded. Tom Watts was probably the worst guy at the time to be coaching a young Cam. Hell all of us sitting on the sidelines could see what he was going to turn into, something like mid teens in goals, while playing very low minutes. Barry Pedersons career was truly on the downturn, but they pulled the trigger, and the rest is history. Don't be comparing Mason Raymond to Cam Neely, even though for once in 3 years he's finally healthy, Alex Steen says hi to you.
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I don't know if I would call it a genius move by the Leafs. A good one, but not genius.

Santorelli has 11 points too, and I wouldn't call that a genius move by the Canucks. Just a good one that's working out.

Totally agree! And the word "genius" is thrown around way too loosely. These could have gone the other way, too, in which case the moves would have been viewed as incompetence.

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thanks for posting that

I too think it is very telling what he says about feeling too comfortable. AV seemed to run his team like a school yard. You were either one if his pals whose faults were overlooked or you were picked on relentlessly.

Of course we'd like a productive Raymond @ 1 mill over a hapless injured Booth @ 4 mil. Goes without saying, but that's not how it works. He didn't/couldn't/wouldn't work out here for some reason. And his playoff performances were beyond pathetic. I'll be curious to see how he does if TO makes it this year. Good luck to him.

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