I was reading through Ek's blog and the comments left by many people concerning Mats Sundin's desire to stay in Toronto and I couldn't help but think so many people are mis guided.
The number of "Mats is selfish", "Mats is not thinking of the team", "Mats is an idiot" etc type replies was very alarming and extremely disappointing to me.
Assuming that what Sundin said in his statements over the past two days is true - and given his past conduct and reputation for being one of the classiest guys in the NHL, there is no reason to believe otherwise - I find it completely detestible that so many "FANS" could berate Sundin for wanting to stay in Toronto.
I tried to imagine a similar scenario with Mario Lemieux. I realize that things are a little different - Mario won two cups with the Pens and went through a lot of adversity health wise - but I could not imagine if Mario was in the same situation - and made the same decision - that the fans in Pittsburgh would do anything but embrace him even more. We may not be the hockey town that Toronto is, but we do have a loyal hockey following...and one thing we respect is the loyalty a player shows to his team.
I realize that the Leafs are in a tough situation...probably out of the playoffs again and they have too many veteran players with NTCs that won't waive them (all of which is a management issue). So, with Sundin being the most "desireable" player on the roster, the quick fix for all that ails the Leafs appears to be trading the big guy for a nice return of players and or picks...with the intent on resigning him in the off season. Really, I get all of that.
But if Sundin really feels that he can't do it...for the reasons he stated (and this is not some type pf ploy to get a better deal for the team), then how can the Leafs Nation not simply say "OK Mats, we respect your decision and we are honored by your loyalty to the Leafs."
I know one thing...I would take this guy in a Penguin uniform in a second (make that a nano second). There are a number of teams that would take him in that same time frame.
But see this for what it really is. We base this on what we see when he plays with the Leafs. We think of him in that same way with our club.
BUT - Mats is saying - in every word and action - that he would not be capable of doing this with ANOTHER club. He would NOT BE THE SAME Mats Sundin in that scenario. Part of what makes him the player that he is, is playing for the Leafs.
If all of that is true, then you have to just see this situation through better eyes. And if you can't do that...and stand on your feet and cheer the next time he takes the ice for a home game, then maybe you don't deserve to have him on your team.
I leave you with these two quotes I found from a 2003 interview with Sundin. On this day in 2008, I don't think he would answer any differently than he did back then:
Qualities most admired in people: "Honesty is the biggest thing I admire, respect, and look for. And it's something that's kind of disappearing in some people nowadays."
Future ambitions: "Winning a Stanley Cup for Toronto, that's the biggest dream and the biggest goal."
would you expect any less from the most "classless" fans in the league????
I hate to agree with you japes, but it sure looks like you're right.
Who are we to argue with Mats if he wants to play 19 games of meaningless hockey and finish his career without the chance of winning a Stanley Cup? He won't be back with the Leafs next season, that's a fact. So many players on this team are complacent with losing, it boggles the mind, that's for sure.
Icedog, all I have to say is "Bang On". The Penguins for awhile were in the very same situation the Leafs are in now. Barely making the playoffs (If not making them at all) and getting eliminated first round. The Penguins were forced to rebuild just as the Leafs are and never once during this rebuilding process was the idea of trading Mario for assets and picks ever mentioned. Infact, it would be insane to suggest such a thing. The face of the Penguins, moving on for "the good of his team". Penguins fans would punch someone out for suggesting it. However, in Toronto... hopefully people don't boo Mats... it'd be a really black eye on Mats career and the Toronto Maple Leafs fans.
Spot on.After he's given this much to the Leafs, he's earned the right to make this call.
he's going back to sweden at the end of the season. why not help your team for the future, and go try for a cup! i think he's being selfish to himself !!
mats is the definition of loyalty .. bottom line ..
Nice read, Mats will be a leaf again next year, no doubt about it. If he thought retirement was a definate, he certainly would have waived the clause. My thoughts are there wasn't a deal on the table that was good enough without Mats putting pen to paper on the team that aquired him.
excellent peice of work! you do know that for all the fools like "darcytucker" on here making such comments, that its only a fraction of the uneducated, "win-now-at-all-costs" leaf fans that only rear there ugly heads when theres a chance to criticize someone? this is only one of a few scenarios where i'd feel bad for a guy with so much wealth and success but they literally backed him into a corner and made him choose between his beliefs and being essentially a corporate tool to get the leafs out of the mess they so handily created. in the end i'm glad he chose to stay and i'm glad he's still captain of this team. he's given the best years of this career to this team and single handedly led them deep into the playoffs against teams they had no business playing against. theres too many people in this city and on this board with the mentality of what have you done for me lately. it disgusts me. so we didn't get a pick and prospect, big deal! as long as we don't trade any of the ones we already have, were years ahead of where we were last year!
right on the money. but i gotta say, it kinda was disappointing to me. Like it or not, Mats is going to stop playing for the leafs, whether it was a trade or retirement, so why not try and help the team you love so dearly and get yourself traded?
mapleleaf92 - I understand your point completely. And maybe I am being naive, but is truly sounds like this guy CAN'T leave his team. He feels like it is HIS team, no matter what. Do you see what I mean? It's a sense of pride or belonging, or love...or whatever you call it, that makes him that it's wrong to go somewher else, knowing he only wants to be in one place. Maybe this thing plays out differently...and maybe, as some have suggested, this is just another bargaining tool (I think not at this point) but if it isn't, then people just have to accept the fact that he's just too far gone...farther than any Maple Leaf fan could ever go...into being a part of the Blue and White. And if that's really the case...then you have to try and see it through his eyes...If he gets traded tomorrow, I'll feel like a fool...but for now...I am taking him for his word...