So it finally got done...Mats is a Canuck...
The truth is, I became a regular follower on this site because of the Mats soap opera. I hate to admit it, but it is true.
Legend had it he could sign in Montreal. It was the personal view of the proprietor of this site he could become a Hab. So month after month I ran to this site in the hopes of finally getting the news. Montreal finally has that big number one centre they've coveted for so long.
Now, I've never been a fan of Mats Sundin. In fact, I never found his comments overly intelligent. I always recognised his consistency on the ice but I cringed every time I heard him speak. He spewed Leaf propaganda like a war-torn soldier, never like a leader. Yet, the idea of the big Swede signing with the Habs was very romantic. And it did seem like a good fit. The Habs have a very talented young team. A veteran like Sundin could do nothing but improve this team's already bright opportunity for the year.
After all the rumours. After all the silence. After all the bickering. After all the frustration. Mats took the best option left. Let me make this clear. Mats didn't take the best option. He took the best option left.
All of the contenders moved on. They signed other players leaving very little cap space. As was the case with the Rangers, they wanted him, but sadly their shopping cart was full. Detroit, San Jose, Montreal, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, maybe even Boston. All would have added him in a heartbeat but a cap-centric system would not allow it.
So here sits Vancouver. They sat there and sat there and sat there. A $20 million dollar, 2-year deal sat on the table like some dusty candle holders. The Habs signed Lang. The Rangers signed Redden. Boston signed Ryder. Detroit signed Hossa. One by one, teams moved on while Mats sat in Sweden taking his Swede old time.
When Mats finally got bored and decided he wanted to play hockey he thought it was his turn to take the Big Apple by storm. Following in the footsteps of Mark Messier he would have Manhattan singing the Mats fandango. He would realise his dream of a Stanley Cup in the biggest and best city in the world. 3..2..1...cue the reality check. Teams don't wait for December. Teams that want to compete lock in their rosters early and make tweaks according to their performance. For NY to add Mats, they would have to make a big subtraction first. And it wouldn't be an overpaid Redden packing his bags. It would have to be a Gomez or Drury to make it truly fit. And that was just a ridiculous prospect and obviously never came to fruition.
So dust off the candle holders. Vancouver got their Sundin. Would Mats have chosen them on July 1st if he was ready to make a decision? Considering he is an aging point-per-game veteran with no Stanley Cup ring, this blogger votes no. And this is the last point I'm going to make about Mats Sundin. He is a very good hockey player. No doubt. However, I've always questioned his heart. I've always questioned his desire to win a Cup on any terms, not just his. I like Vancouver. Always have. However, they are nowhere near the class of a Wings or Sharks powerhouse. They are not a true contender. So take the money Mats and hide away in West Coast obscurity. And if you are nice, I'll save you a seat come April and you can watch the playoffs with me.