Monday, February 25, 2008

In Defense of Mats Sundin

Yeah, never thought I'd be writing that.

Let's get this clear up front. I do not enjoy Mats Sundin. Against the Sabres at least, he's a punk, constantly cross-checking or punching players behind the play and after the whistle. I would be more than happy to never, ever play him again.

That said, I find the idea that he owes it to the Leafs to waive his no-trade clause to be really ridiculous. Let's put aside the obvious - he negotiated the NTC so he couldn't be traded - and focus on this: Mats Sundin has repeatedly chosen to stay with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Due to horrible mismanagement the team has wasted a huge chunk of the prime of his career and he STILL wants to play there. He accepted a contract that was under market value so the Leafs had money to play with and they wasted it and he STILL wants to play there. If he wins a Cup he wants it to be with teammates he's played with all season for the franchise he - for whatever reason - loves. He's given his heart, soul, and body to the Leafs and their fans for more than the past decade and he's placing more importance on emotional ties to a team and a city than on a token championship with teammates he barely knows and fans who couldn't really care less about him. Good for him. He doesn't owe the Leafs a gosh darn thing. They owe him. First they owe him a big fat apology for the wasted years and then they owe him a huge retirement party when the time comes along with eternal thanks for how much he's given the franchise over the years. God forbid a player actually shows fans (and owners) the loyalty they're always crying doesn't exist in pro sports anymore. If there's a bad guy in this situation it's the Leafs ownership and management. It sure as heck is not Mats Sundin.

I really did mean to post something about the Rangers game but I got distracted by Bucky (see yesterday's post) and now pretty much everything has been said somewhere. I will say this: Don't underestimate the importance of Jochen Hecht being out of the line-up. His presence probably wouldn't have eliminated Ales Kotalik's blind backhanded pass to the middle of the ice right in front of his goalie - when is that ever a good idea, Al? - but he's so responsible with the puck that it might have helped our turnover issues. I also think he brings some of the zen calmness to the team that certain other guys provided in the past.

Still... I have to say that while that game was not exactly encouraging - we kind of need to beat good(ish) teams eventually - it didn't exactly put a deep, dark fear of the Rangers in me. They looked as sloppy as we did, we just made the last major mistake before time ran out. If we don't beat the Flyers tonight however, I will cry.

One last note to Jaromir Jagr for accusing Thomas Vanek of goalhanging. This is ridiculous for a few reasons: A) It's not true B) Jagr had two turnovers lead directly to goals so he wasn't exactly great out there C) Jagr lost all right to criticize someone else's effort a good long while ago and D) Jagr's a dick.


GregK said...

OMG Heather, I love you. "Jagr is a Dick" hahahahahahahah roflrofl lololololololol

Vanek's Hair said...

Jagr accusing someone of goal hanging is like Darcy Tucker calling someone a cheap shot artist. Like Dominik Hasek calling a player a distraction in the locker room. All Vanek did was get behind the Rangers "D" Though I I am far from impartial on Vanek discussions.

Funny how people bang on Sundin for not waiving his no-trade clause. Had he waived it, I bet he would be lambasted as selfish too. Its nice that a player shows some loyalty to the team in the current mercenary state of professional athletics.

Heather B. said...

Gregk, I believe in total honesty here at Top Shelf :D Seriously, I'm so tired of his crap. We've all spent way too much time trying to unwrap the riddle of Jaromir Jagr. He's a super talented hockey player who has wasted oodles of his career. And he's a dick. The end.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the NHL is lacking in team loyalty minus a few players Brodeur for one has been loyal to the Devils and has been willing to take a pay cut to stay there. As far as Mats Sundin goes . . . I read in the USA Today that he refused to waive the no trade clause but he will be a UFA on July 1. So is he really being loyal or does he want to see what he is worth on the market come July 1. Is Mats Sundin really loyal to the team or loyal to the paycheck? There just seems to be an underlying tone that indicates to me he might be more talk than walk. Yes he released the statement that said he doesn't believe in rental players and all that and I would really like to believe it but I am having a hard time with it. It just seems a little insincere to me.


Still can't remember my password.

Heather B. said...

Jennifer, I understand why people are questioning this - you're not the only person I've seen mention that he's a UFA - but I just don't get that from Sundin. He's always, always stayed with Toronto in the past, usually at a lower price than what he could've gotten from somewhere else. I really believe that if he was going to test the market anyway, he would waive his NTC and let Toronto get something for him. I just don't think that's the case. Usually I would think a guy who released his statement was full of it, but Sundin has been so loyal in the past that I don't see any reason to start questioning his loyalty or sincerity now. (I actually think he might be mulling over retirement but that's just a feeling on my part.)

Meg said...

(I actually think he might be mulling over retirement but that's just a feeling on my part.)

He has mentioned that he might not play next year. In fact, didn't he say that in his statement?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, he said that. Plus, he would be a UFA in July whether he got traded or not, wouldn't he?

Heather B. said...

Oh! So I guess that wasn't "gut feeling" so much as "reading his statement," huh? :P