It's Time To Move On

LeafsMats is visiting tomorrow. I'm torn.

Well over 300 entries on this blog contain the word Sundin. He was the best player on our beloved Leafs since the 1994/1995 season. He was quiet, private, classy and, we thought, loyal. Then, Mats sold us out, signing with the Canucks in December without going through training camp with his new teammates, something he said he wouldn't do when he refused to waive his no-trade clause last February.

The past two years with Mats have been wrought with emotion. He emphatically declared the Leafs would win the Stanley Cup during his tenure with the club (Words to Dream By - April 19, 2007). Meanwhile, my biggest fear was that he'd end up a Senator (Sundin to the Sens: A Jagged Little Pill - November 5, 2007) or a Canadien (Sundin a Hab? A Strange Day in Toronto Sports - June 20, 2008). Perish the thought.

When he was asked by Cliff Fletcher to waive his no-trade clause, you could tell Mats was conflicted. I urged him to waive his no-trade clause as a martyr-like sacrifice for Leafs Nation (It's Ok, You Know I Love You Anyway - February 23, 2008) and, when he refused to do so, I praised his decision as honourable (Loyalty Personified - February 25, 2008). I saw Mats as a different kind of cat (Mats Is A Different Cat - July 2, 2008)... a deeper thinker who is very private and very proud.

Mats all but disappeared last summer. I called out to him in late July (Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin - July 22, 2008) but training camp opened without him. I still assumed he would re-sign with the Leafs or retire, as any other option would taint his legacy here in the capital of the universe. Then, a little birdy splashed the writing on the wall (Sundin Trashes Toronto: Toronto Mike Exclusive! - November 27, 2008) and Mats signed with Vancouver (Bedtime Stories for Mats Sundin - December 18, 2008).

The next day, I started to deal with the pain (Mats Sundin Will Not Retire A Maple Leaf - December 19, 2008).

I don't know why I thought Mats was different. I don't know how I can still be surprised that professional athletes look out for themselves, saying the right things and doing what makes good business sense at the end of the day. I guess I thought Mats was different. I guess I was wrong.

Mats Sundin and his Vancouver Canucks play at the ACC on February 21. I'll be watching, and I'll be cheering for #13. He's not who I thought he was, but he gave his all to this franchise for 14 years, and that's worth something.

We're a day away from that game. Part of me wants to give him a big hug and thank him for the memories, but another part of me wants to give him the cold shoulder and let him know that he hurt me.

Tomorrow, I'll let it go, tip my Leafs cap to #13 and close out the era. It's time to heal. It's time to move on. I wish Mats luck with the Canucks–I'm just glad it's not with the Sens or Habs.

mats


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Comments (6 - click here to join in!)

elvis

I really don't understand this. What is there to be torn about exactly?

February 20, 2009 @ 5:17 PM

Toronto Mike

Elvis, if I have to explain, you've already hit step #6.

February 20, 2009 @ 5:18 PM

elvis

"Ready to have God remove all these defects of character."????

He did nothing wrong - nothing for us to question his loyalty, character or any of the other things you talk about.

Think of it this way - if your boy was in the same situation as Mats and he came to you for advice about what to do when his employer was trying to brake their contract with him, what would you tell him to do?

If Mats loved playing here and loved the city, the only choice he had was to stay. He owed nothing more to us or the team than to show up every night and play his ass off - he did that.

February 20, 2009 @ 5:27 PM

Toronto Mike

Mats refused to waive his no-trade last year b/c he didn't want to be one of those guys who joins a team late and doesn't go through training camp and all of that jazz.

That's admirable, even though it hurt our team because we could have got a decent package for Mats.

Mats ended up joining a team late and not going through training camp and all that jazz.

Mats should have waived his no-trade clause last year, unless he wanted to retire a Maple Leaf. If he wanted to retire a Canuck, he should have accepted a trade there last February so we could have landed draft picks or a prospect.

Like I said, he was supposed to be different, but he ended up being like all the others....

February 20, 2009 @ 5:31 PM

James Edgar

"Mats ended up joining a team late and not going through training camp and all that jazz."
And that will always piss me off. I wouldn't boo him if I was at the game but I wouldn't cheer either.

In the end Mats looked after Mats and that's OK with me generally but when you say one thing and do another you have expect a little grief.

February 20, 2009 @ 5:54 PM

elvis

Mats did what's best for Mats - he honoured the contract he signed. That's all we can ask for.

Your hope for Mats reminds me of your hope for Obama - you'll end up being disappointed with him too.

February 21, 2009 @ 6:45 AM

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