"Fuck Sundin. Way to not take a deadline trade, like an asshole."
December 01, 2008
Like the Pet Shop Boys said, life is peaceful there. Peaceful, as in, across the country from the Toronto media, and a few bitter Maple Leafs fans. And that jersey looks familiar. Blue and white, with just a touch of green.
I know what you're thinking: "here we go again." But as Sundin's Secretary of Defence, I've got to weigh in once more on everyone's favourite former captain.
Now that the man, the myth, and the legend known as Brian Burke has officially landed in town - "it's one small step for man, but one giant leap for the Maple Leafs"- Sundin is back in the news. Apparently the Leafs don't exactly fit the profile of team he's looking to join.
Well, no shit.
Mats is 37. He'll be 38 in February. It's December. I don't see him suiting up for game action until January. He's looking for a place to play for four months. Of course he's not coming to Toronto. Why would he? The Leafs are terrible.
Once again, however, Leafs fans are chastising him. Now that it's looking like his Leafs career is truly over, the vultures are back, and circling. Chemmy, one of the great Pension Plan Puppeteers, had this to say after Burke said Sundin likely won't be coming back to the nest:
That comment gets to me. I mean, really gets to me. That sense of entitlement. That Sundin, because he was asked, owed it to us, all of us Toronto Maple Leafs fans out there, to accept a trade out of town when he didn't want to go.
You know why he didn't want to go? Because he believed that the team - his team - could still make the playoffs. Yeah, what an asshole.
Of course, fans like Chemmy will argue that at issue is not the fact that Sundin is not returning, but that he is looking for short-term employment elsewhere. Mats did say, after all, that he did not want to be a rental player, and that he wanted to be a part of the "journey" from day one.
I'll be the first to admit that I can't much defend those statements. No matter where Sundin signs, he will be a rental player. And he will not have been a part of the journey since day one. But, hey, that's life. Things change. Sometimes things don't work out the way we plan for them to work out. Deal with it. Let it go. Perhaps Sundin really did think he would return to Toronto. Perhaps he believed he really was ready for retirement. The truth is, we'll never know.
None of this, however, tarnishes Sundin's legacy in these eyes. And it shouldn't in yours. Mats went down with the sinking ship. Don't forget that.
And Brian Burke is right. Sundin's a better man for staying on the sidelines this season instead of collecting a paycheck when his heart isn't in the game.
My good friend MF37 over at Bitter Leaf Fan Page has, amidst all the Sundin fallout, been asking a great question: where's the hatred for Darcy Tucker? I was as big a Tucker fan as they came, but I'm beginning to ask myself that question as well. Why are people still all over Sundin, when Tucker also didn't waive his no-trade clause, and saddled the Leafs with a cap hit?
Tucker, a warrior yes, was a perpetual minus hockey player. He had become a one-trick pony on the power play and a liability five-on-five. The Leafs are now paying $1 million a year against the salary cap for him not to play in Toronto, and will be until 2013. Yet everyone's still pissed at Sundin, who only went about his point-per-game business for, oh, the last 15 God damn years, because he wouldn't leave.
It's unbelievable, really, how fans in this town think sometimes.
I've got no issues with Sundin joining Montreal, New York, or Chicago. But I want him to become a Canuck. Although the fellas at CoxBloc would probably disagree, Vancouver's a wonderful city. A laid-back Toronto, some say. The Canucks are sitting atop the Northwest Division, and Sundin would look great between the Sedin sisters. When Roberto Luongo comes back from his injury, the Canucks could really use Mats' offence down the stretch.
It pains me that I never got to properly say goodbye to Mats, but it's cool. I want him to go west. I want him to try and win that Cup. I'm truly beginning to think that, thanks to a few petty, bitter fans in this city, we don't deserve him anyway.