Damien Cox, Why Don't You Just Say It?
"Praise for a trailblazer" is the title of today's column by Damien Cox in The Toronto Star. I'd link to the article, but that damn Star URI has so many ampersands I'd have to edit, I couldn't be bothered. I'm boycotting links to thestar.com until they clean up their URI structure. "Praise for a trailblazer" is a nice little piece about Mats Sundin in which he asks a question we all know the answer to.
Getting his just due has been heavy sledding for Mats Sundin. Don't know why that is, exactly. Don't know why Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark were both far more celebrated as Maple Leaf captains, or why fans saved their affections for Curtis Joseph and Tie Domi but seemed to always withhold them from Sundin.
Does Damien Cox expect us to believe for one second that he doesn't know why Leaf fans were quicker to embrace Gilmour, Clark, Joseph and Domi? You're thinking it, I'm thinking it and Cox was thinking it. Gilmour, Clark, Joseph and Domi are all Canadians, born and raised in Canada. Mats Sundin was born and raised in Sweden. For better or worse, Toronto Maple Leaf fans prefer the home grown talent, the native son eligible to suit up for Canada in an Olympic games or World Cup. It's widespread preference for ones own, not based on colour or creed but an undeniable allegiance to the Maple Leaf, both blue and red.
I own both a Gilmour #93 and a Bill Barilko #5. My brother Ryan owns a Clark #17 and a Bryan McCabe #24 and my brother Steve owns a Tucker #16. All five are Canadian born players who played or play for the Leafs. We've never seriously considered owning a Sundin #13, a Mogilny #89 or a Tomas Kaberle #15. If Sundin was Matt Sutton from Moose Jaw you can bet in a heartbeat one of us would own his #13.
Heck, if Sundin were a bonafide Canuck, he'd have owned this city long ago. You know it, I know it and Damien Cox knows it. He'd just prefer to wonder why.
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