Ladies and Gentlemen,

The time has come to defend one of our own. In this election season I am launching a campaign. This is not a campaign to get one elected, or for change, but one for respect. Today, Avs fans, I want to launch a campaign that says "I am not worried about our starting goaltender. I do not believe the weak spot in this team is the goaltender. I have seen him play over three seasons and know he will be just fine." In short, it's time for us, Avs fans, to stand up and say "I believe in Peter Budaj."

Peter Budaj, the young man given a boatload of responsibility for the Avs, has been disparaged, denigrated, and doubted. He is playing a high profile position so the spotlight will always be bright, but the belittlement he has take, mainly from the mainstream media, has been over the top. This condemnation has come mainly from people, "analysts" that have barely seen the young man play. But I believe in Peter Budaj.

The only justification I can see for this disparagement is the fact that he "lost" a goalie competition with Jose Theodore last season. Anyone who uses this line of reasoning clearly has no insight into the Avs over the last 3 seasons. Peter Budaj put the Avs on his back in 06'-07 and nearly led the Avs into the playoffs. When given consistent starts as an Av his record is 31-10-7. Peter Budaj started the season strong before being inexplicably pulled last season. This is a guy who has done everything asked of him, without complaint, and who has earned the chance to start in the NHL. That's why I believe in Peter Budaj.

Sure his stats can be a bit misleading. His save % isn't the best and his GAA last season was slightly below average, all fair criticisms. However the media, especially nationally, is painting him as the worst goalie in the league. Despite little change for the Avs in the offseason, The Hockey News predicted the Avs would finish 14th in conference, mainly because of the man between the pipes. Scott Burnside, of ESPN, had this to say about our young goalie:
Do the Avs, once home to the greatest goalie of all time in Patrick Roy, now boast the worst goaltending in the NHL?
and in the ESPN the Magazine season preview for the Avs E.J. Hradek ranked the Avs as tied for the worst in the league in goaltending, with the Kings. And Wes Goldstein of CBS sports had this to say:
There are several question marks, most notably in goal where Peter Budaj and Andrew Raycroft seem better suited to be backups rather than starters.
But the most appalling slight on Budaj seems to be that the Avs brought in Andrew Raycroft to regain his Calder Trophy form and win the starting job, as if Budaj is a steward holding the position until Raycroft gets his groove back. But Budaj has earned the chance to be a #1 without a coach who pulls him after any mistake. He needs a coach who believes in Peter Budaj

This cesspool of negativity and doubt threatens to derail the Avs season before it even begins. If the team, and the fans , buy into the national medias misinformed Budaj-bashing the Avs will be sunk in the water. There will be talk of picking up a goalie, such as Khabibulin, or the dreaded goalie carousel we saw last season. It is imperative that Budaj gets the fans support, at least until a proper evaluation can be obtained. Right now he is being evaluated on hearsay and misleading stats. We, as fans, need to throw our support in for Budaj. Let him know that he is our goaltender, and we saw what he can do in "The Streak". That if the Avs can win a playoff series behind the goaltending of David Aebischer (with Granato behind the bench no-less) then Peter Budaj can have at least the same level of success. In short we need to let him know that:
We believe in Peter Budaj. Because

I believe in Peter Budaj

So below I have set aside virtual bumper stickers and buttons to post all over the web. Show your support in Peter Budaj by letting others know that you too, believe in peter budaj. They are designed to be Avatars and forum footers. I will have on at the top of the page here, and use on avatars throughout the interwebs. Let's show people that Avs fans believe in Peter Budaj. We know he will be fine. Here are your campaign "Stickers" and banners:

The Code for this banner can be found here: I believe in Budaj Banner 1

Code can be found here: Budaj Banner 2

Code found here: Budaj Banner 3

Code here: Budaj Poster 1

Code Here: Budaj Avatar 1 And a larger version here: Budaj Button 1
Code Here: Budaj avatar 2 Larger Version Here: Budaj Button 2
Code Here: Budaj Avatar 3 Larger Version here: Budaj Button 3
Code Here: Budaj avatar 4 Larger Version here: Budaj Button 4
Code Here: Budaj avatar 5 Larger Version here: Budaj button 5