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Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin Sundin

LeafsIt's July 22 and it's Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin, Mats Sundin.

A Swedish newspaper reported he was set to sign with Vancouver, then his agent denied the claim. Another Swedish newspaper conducted a poll asking fans where they think the free agent centre will wind up, and the results were strongly in the Maple Leafs' favour, at 37 per cent. Will he return? Will he retire? Will he sign elsewhere? It's all about Mats Sundin.

Personally, I think Mats Sundin makes us too good. I love the guy, I think he's a class act with a boatload of skill and loyal to a fault, but I've got my heart set on a 30 win season and #13 will make us a tad too competitive.

Still, I suspect The Mats will announce his return as some point this summer and he'll retire next summer as a Toronto Maple Leaf. In the meantime, the Toronto media will run with Mats Sundin story after Mats Sundin story giving the people what they want. All Mats, all the time.

That reminds me, I'm due to visit http://www.torontomike.com/countdown.html. 79 days, 7 hours, 13 minutes, and 10 seconds left until the Maple Leafs season opener!

Our Most Important Ornament

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Sundin to the Sens: A Jagged Little Pill

leafsIn his column for The Sporting News, Ken Campbell suggests the Sens pursue Mats Sundin. His points are valid. Sundin is having a great year, is a better gamble for the Sens than Forsberg and the Leafs could use some young talent from the Sens war chest as we rebuild. It would be a great, ballsy move, and I hope it never happens.

Seeing Mats Sundin win the cup this summer would make me very happy, even if he's not winning the cup with the Leafs. Seeing the Sens win the cup this summer would make me very unhappy, and this unhappiness trumps the aforementioned happiness. I would rather Mats go cup-less than witness Ottawa win it all.

Having said that, I hope we trade Sundin to a contender. I want to see him succeed and I'd like us to get some young talent and draft picks for him in case we do realize there's a need to rebuild here. I'd be okay with Mats winning the cup with another team so long as that team doesn't call Ottawa home.

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Mats Sundin Inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Mats Sundin Inducted into Hockey Hall of FameMaple Leafs great Mats Sundin has been voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, joining Joe Sakic, Adam Oates and Pavel Bure. This was Sundin's first year of eligibility.

I loved Sundin, I think we all did... well, most of us appreciated him as a person, competitor and highly skilled centre. But then, he hurt us.

Instead of dwelling on that pain, I choose to remember Mats as a great Maple Leaf, and definitely one of the greatest in my lifetime. And if you have a little time, and want to read how I managed to move on after Mats signed with Vancouver, this entry contains all the blood, sweat and tears.

Mats Sundin is in the Hockey Hall of Fame and Leafs fans should be proud.

Mats Sundin

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Words To Dream By

leafsIn an interview with George Gross of the Toronto Sun, Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin drops a tremendous quote.

"But I will tell you one thing," he said emphatically. "The Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup while I'm still with the team.

That's quite the statement. Mats Sundin is 36 years old, and will probably play one or two more seasons with the blue and white. Sundin is promising a Stanley Cup in 2008 or 2009.

We'll revisit this emphatic statement at this time next year and again in two years. Sundin is either a dreamer or a prophet. I'm praying it's the latter.

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Sundin a Hab? A Strange Day in Toronto Sports

leafsAm I living in the bizarro world? This is turning out to be one heck of a strange sports news day in Toronto.

First Cito returns, sending us straight back to the glory days in the early 90s, and now comes word from the Maple Leafs that the Montreal Canadiens have been given permission to talk to Toronto captain Mats Sundin. If the Habs work out a deal with Sundin before July 1, we would receive some form of compensation.

Now, I still think Sundin will sign with the Leafs for next season, but let's examine the ramifications if Sundin plays for Montreal in 2008/2009. Remember when Sundin refused to waive his no-trade clause? While many were calling Sundin selfish and demanding he accept a trade to better our future I called him Loyalty Personified. I assumed that loyalty meant Sundin would retire a Leaf.

Mats, if you're reading this, and I'll bet you are, you have two choices: retire or sign for one more year with Toronto. If you're a Hab next season you will not be forgiven for refusing to waive your no-trade clause in February. What I once labelled Loyalty Personified will be rebranded Disloyalty Incarnate.

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Sundin's Surgery Surprise Says Simmons

leafsIt's do or die for the Raptors tonight, the Jays are second in the AL East and the Leafs haven't been seen in over twenty days, but the big sports story in this city today is the status of Mats Sundin's hip. According to this article by Steve Simmons, Sundin's future as a National Hockey League player is in question after it was learned yesterday that the Maple Leafs captain requires hip surgery.

John Ferguson Jr. is denying the story, as is Sundin's agent, but there's a lot of smoke here for there to be no fire at all. Sundin is no spring chicken, and hip surgery is pretty serious, so if this is true it's a pretty big story in Leaf Nation.

Sundin will turn 37 during next season. As good a player as he is, there's no support for him on the Leafs and he clearly can't carry us to the post season on his own. Maybe Sundin's hip is trying to tell us something. Maybe Sundin's hip is telling MLSE to let him go and to radically alter the persona of this mediocre team.

There will be some rough years ahead, but we've had rough patches before. By the time my son is ten we could have an exciting and competitive team with a legitimate chance to end a 45 year drought. It all starts with our captain's hip.

Leafs Nation, dont shed no tears. No Sundin, no cry.

Harold Ballard Lies

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Mats Is A Different Cat

leafsFreddie P and I have agreed to disagree about many things, and one of those things is Mats Sundin. Fred likes to diminish Mats' value in his blog. As recently as this morning he went off on the absurd offer Vancouver reportedly made for Sundin's services. This city, it seems, is comprised of two kinds of people: those who like Mats Sundin and those who don't.

I like Mats. He's been our best player since he arrived in 1994 and he's one of the classiest athletes ever to play in this city. No, he hasn't led us to a Stanley Cup final, but neither did Darryl, Wendel or Dougie. Sundin gave his all to this franchise and I say we're lucky to have had him as long as we did.

In addition to not being Canadian, Mats had something else working against him. He's a different kind of cat... a deeper thinker who is very private and very proud. The news today is that he needs more time to think about whether he will play again. Even though teams are throwing big bucks his way, Mats isn't yet sure what he wants and he's going to take some time to figure it out. The man could have signed yesterday for $20M but instead he's motivated by other factors. You have to respect that.

He's an enigma wrapped in a riddle. Whatever he decides, he's got a big fan right here.

Mats Sundin

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Loyalty Personified

thumbsupI love beating the Sens, and I'm glad Mats Sundin is a part of tonight's onslaught. It's 5-0 right now and Sundin got the opening goal.

Mats has made his decision and I'm trying to move on, but an email I got from my brother earlier today has me bothered. Ryan wrote, "Why is Sundin doing this???"

I replied with the following:

I actually don't blame Mats. In fact, it's honourable. The man doesn't want to be a rent-a-player. He wants to go down with the ship, play on his team. I think he might retire after this season.

We have many to blame, but don't blame Mats...

Ryan's reply is what has me upset. Ryan wrote, "How can he defend this? I respect the guys like Doug Weight more in this day and age where the game is about business."

Ryan isn't the only one with such an opinion. It saddens me that so many see Mats' refusal to waive his no-trade clause as a sign of disloyalty or worse. I commend Mats for what he's done, and although the fan in me would love to see him traded for youth and draft picks, the human in me is glad there are still people like Mats Sundin in professional sports.

Sometimes, it's not about business, and thank heavens for that.

Mats-Sundin

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O Captain! My Captain!

LeafsMats Sundin's orbital bone was fractured last night meaning he's out four to six weeks.

Coming into this season, Sundin had two qualities going for him that were very rare in the Maple Leafs dressing room: he had a great deal of skill and he was healthy. That's right, he was both highly skilled and healthy, something no other Leaf could claim, and now he's out for over a month.

My Captain does not answer...

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Mats Sundin vs. Daniel Alfredsson

hockeyI spent eight hours yesterday putting up drywall in a basement with my brother Ryan. Eight hours in the same room with him is guaranteed to result in a series of arguments / debates. One that's still upsetting me was our debate about Mats Sundin and Daniel Alfredsson.

Ryan arrogantly stated that Daniel Alfredsson was better than Mats Sundin. When the two careers are over, he feels that Alfy will be viewed as the better Swede. In fact, Ryan believes everyone already thinks Alfy is better than Sundin because when I told him I thought Sundin was better and it wasn't even that close, Ryan told me I'm the only one who thinks that and I'd be hard pressed to find someone to agree with me.

For the record, I think this is as crazy as his bold statement that Mark Bell would score 40 goals this season. We eventually put $50 on the line with him saying Bell would score at least 20 goals and me saying he wouldn't. I'm going to win that bet easily.

If I remove my inherent Leafs bias and look at Mats Sundin vs. Daniel Alfredsson objectively, I still believe the vast majority of people will agree Mats is the better hockey player. When all is said and done, Mats will have accumulated more points having played with mediocre players like Jonus Hoglund and Nik Antropov. Alfy plays with stellar all-stars like Heatley and Spezza. Mats not only secures more points, he captained Sweden's gold medal winning team. Sundin is always called to captain Swedish teams that include Alfedsson, because Sundin is considered the better captain. Love him or hate him, everyone agrees Sundin is a class act and his abundance of overtime goals suggests he scores in the clutch.

At this moment, neither player has won a Stanley Cup, although Alfredsson's team is currently a contender. I'm not doubting Alfredsson is a great player, I'm merely confidently stating that Mats Sundin is a better player. Great evidence is this season. At 27-10-4, Ottawa is leading the Northeast division. At 16-18-8, Toronto is last in that same division. 37-year old Mats Sundin is Toronto's offensive juggernaut with 48 points, a full 13 points ahead of our 2nd leading scorer and 21 points ahead of #3. 35-year old Alfy, with 55 points, is tied with Dany Heatley for the Senators lead in points, only 3 points ahead of Jason Spezza. On an awesome team with plenty of awesome support, the younger Alfredsson is only 7 points ahead of Sundin.

In my humble opinion, Mats Sundin is the second best Swede to play our game. Pound for pound, I believe Peter Forsberg is the best, but I sincerely believe Sundin is definitely better than Daniel Alfredsson. Is my brother right when he says nobody would agree with me or am I right when I say he's completely out to lunch?

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Maple Leafs 2, Rangers 1

LeafsI don't know about you, but when Ian White sprung Mats Sundin on that breakaway in the third, everything slowed down for me. It was as if I was watching our captain stride in one frame at a time. When he snapped home the winner, I cheered so loud it woke the kids.

Make no mistake, our Leafs have won three in a row. The goaltender I love to hate played another great game and Sundin hit the 20-goal mark for the 16th straight season. It's all coming together at the right time.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
25-22-6
56 points
4th in Northeast
2-1 Win vs. New York Rangers
4-1 Win vs. Carolina
4-1 Win vs. Montreal
M. Sundin - 46
T. Kaberle - 43
B. McCabe - 37

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Damien Cox, Why Don't You Just Say It?

newspaper"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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Sundin Trashes Toronto: Toronto Mike Exclusive!

LeafsReports have GM Cliff Fletcher or Special Assistant to the GM Joe Nieuwendyk sitting down in L.A. to talk with Mats Sundin about his return to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In a Toronto Mike exclusive, I wouldn't bet on Mats playing another game with the Leafs. Here's what I know...

VegasGeoff is a frequent commenter on this blog and he works at a coffee shop in Las Vegas. On the day of the Carlo Colaiacovo and Alex Steen trade for Lee Stempniak he left the following comment on my entry about that trade.

So, guess who I heard this news from this morning? Mats Sundin!

I work in a coffee shop down here in Vegas, and when I turned around to help a customer, I was shocked to see it was Mats himself. He's down here vacationing with his parents and wife, and was ordering coffee for them all. I told him I was a huge Leaf fan, originally from Toronto, and we chatted while his coffee was being made. He told me about the trade, made a comment about the team that I won't post here, and just chuckled when I asked him if we'd see him back this year. I told him I wasn't going to run and spill the beans to the Sun, but he wouldn't give up any info.

I pressed VegasGeoff to reveal the statement Mats Sundin made to him in the coffee shop that morning, and I can now divulge that information. Mats Sundin said "Toronto is going to shit, man."

MLSE can keep those Mats Sundin jerseys at their discounted price. #13 will not retire a Maple Leaf.

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Why I Won't Grow A Beard

Why I Won't Grow A BeardI would like to publicly thank Mats Sundin for reminding me why I should never attempt to grow a beard. Sundin is sporting his first attempt at a playoff beard, and he's been letting it grow for some time now. Leaf fans everywhere appreciate the effort, but somebody has to hand this guy a Mach III. It's patchy, and I'm not referring to Philly's D. It's probably how my beard would look if I ever let it grow.

He's a great captain, a great hockey player and a lousy beard grower.

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Maple Leafs 2, Flyers 3

LeafsWe peppered 56 shots at Antero Niittymaki but it wasn't enough. Another night, another loss for the blue and white. We fell to 1-4-1 since goalie Vesa Toskala went down with a groin injury.

Sundin scored both Leafs goals, giving him 543 for his career. That moves him past Stan Mikita into sole possession of 25th place on the NHL's regular-season list. One more and he'll tie Maurice Richard.

My brother and I had an interesting debate about Sundin I'll open up to everyone later this morning. How's that for a teaser?

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
16-18-8
40 points
5th in Northeast
3-2 Loss vs. Philadelphia
6-2 Loss vs. Pittsburgh
4-3 Win vs. Tampa Bay
M. Sundin - 48
N. Antropov - 35
J. Blake - 27

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Bedtime Stories for Mats Sundin

moviesThanks to the peeps at Disney, I got to take my son tonight to a media preview of the new Adam Sandler movie, Bedtime Stories. It was better than Bolt and pretty perfect for my six-year old, but I'm not supposed to review it until it's released on Christmas Day.

On my way to the flick, I learned about Mats. Mats Sundin has signed with the Vancouver Canucks. Mats Sundin will not retire a Maple Leaf. I have so much to say - but I'll throw it all down after I shovel tomorrow morning.

Good night, Toronto. Snow-Mageddon awaits.

snow

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Move Along, There's Nothing To See Here

LeafsIt's official. Mats Sundin will not waive his no-trade clause. Neither will Pavel Kubina, Darcy Tucker or Tomas Kaberle. Bryan McCabe might, if it's to the right Eastern Conference team. I'm guessing Uncle Cliffy will be doing a whole lot of nothing these next two days.

I'm giving Sundin a pass, because he's the classiest athlete to play in this city since Pinball, but why the hell did JFJ give these other guys no-trade clauses? These contracts will anchor our rebuilding process and make Uncle Cliffy's job all but impossible.

Welcome to the winter of our discontent.

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Maple Leafs 3, Thrashers 1

LeafsYeah, we won, but this game wasn't significant because we took out the Thrashers. This may have been Mats Sundin's last game as a Toronto Maple Leaf. In 970 career games with the Maple Leafs, Sundin has 413 goals, 558 assists and 971 points.

In Mats own words:

No matter what happens I’ll always love Toronto and I’m going to love the Toronto Maple Leafs. It’s been my home for the last 13 years and that’s never going to change. I hope people respect whatever decision’s going to come out of this.


Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
26-28-9
61 points
5th in Northeast
3-1 Loss vs. Atlanta
5-1 Loss vs. Buffalo
3-1 Win vs. Columbus
M. Sundin - 62
N. Antropov - 48
T. Kaberle - 39

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Maple Leafs 0, Panthers 8

LeafsMats Sundin is truly beloved by his teammates. In a unified act of love the likes of which I've never seen before, Mats Sundin's teammates committed a sort of suicide. You see, they intentionally embarrassed #13, attempting to make him so ashamed to wear the blue and white that he'd waive his no-trade clause. You rarely see such selfless behaviour in professional sports.

My apologies... I needed a moment to wipe a tear from my eye. You have to love this team. Each and every one of them sacrificed their professional reputations to take a glorious dive, all for their captain. There's no way Mats will want to stick around after this. It was a risky strategy, but it's sure to pay dividends.

Bless you boys.

Current Record  Last Games Season Leaders
21-25-9
51 points
5th in Northeast
8-0 Loss vs. Florida
4-2 Win vs. Ottawa
3-2 OTL vs. Carolina
M. Sundin - 56
N. Antropov - 41
J. Blake - 34

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Maple Leafs 1, Senators 4

Go Leafs Go!It's a simple law of physics. What goes up, must come down. Tonight, Eddie Belfour and his Maple Leafs crashed back to earth when the Senators gave it to us good.

Two big question marks causing concern for the future are last game's scorers Joe Nieuwendyk and Mats Sundin. Nieuwendyk was a surprise scratch from tonight's game and Sundin limped off the ice after falling awkwardly feet first into the boards.

Nobody said this would be easy.

Series tied 2-2

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Maple Leafs 2, Islanders 5

Go Leafs Go!The Maple Leafs' winning streak is over. Is this what happens when Eddie Belfour has an average game? He may be leading the team in scoring, but Ric Jackman simply can't cough up the puck like he did tonight. Mariusz Czerkawski should send him flowers. The Leafs have a measly one singular win to show for their first five contests.

It's times like these you need your leader to carry you on his shoulders. O captain! My captain! Mats Sundin, where are you? It's time to call a spade a spade. The Toronto Maple Leafs will never hoist the Stanley Cup in a parade down Yonge Street so long as Sundin is captain. He's been overrated for years and it's becoming increasingly evident that he has no interest in getting dirty and causing chaos in front of the opposing net. Sundin is slowly but surely approaching Bure territory. In ball hockey, we call his type a goal-suck. This is fine and dandy when you're potting fifty goals a season, but Sundin doesn't have a point all season. You're only as strong as your leader, and the Leafs are in desperate need of new leadership.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
1-2-2-0
4 points
5-2 Loss vs. NY Islanders R. Jackman - 3
N. Antropov - 2
T. Kaberle - 2

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Comments King

notepadI took a beating in the comments of my Sundin Trashes Toronto: Toronto Mike Exclusive! entry. There are 18 comments there as of this posting, but that's nothing. This entry is about Freddie P, the comments king.

Fred linked to that entry as part of his "Comments We Like" series. Fred's entry linking to my entry has 36 comments thus far. I like Trish's comment over there.

Find VegasGeoff a house on Wisteria Lane. He really is sounding like a desperate housewife. Maybe Sundin said exactly what he knew VegasGeoff wanted him to say. Maybe he's just creating a little mischief. You guys sound like a bunch of girls - it really is a silly thing to argue about. When Sundin's banner ascends to the rafters of the ACC 30 years from now, he will be there to watch with tears in his cold, Swedish eyes. You can bet on that.

C'mon Trish, it won't take 30 years to raise #13 to the rafters. I'll bet it happens before 2020.

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Maple Leafs 2, Predators 1

Go Leafs Go!The Leafs won for the first time after trailing after two periods thanks to two Bryan McCabe goals in the third. Mats Sundin picked up an assist on both goals and Trevor Kidd had a pretty good game between the pipes.

Tomas Kaberle isn't one to throw his body around, so he picked an interesting time to deliver one of his best checks to date. The target (a mistake we presume) was Gary Roberts and Kaberle is out of the lineup with an injured shoulder as a result. Injuries are starting to pile up with Owen Nolan, Eddie Belfour and Alexander Mogilny still out with injuries. Perhaps we should sit Sundin and Roberts now as a precautionary measure?

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
23-8-8-3
57 points
2-1 Win vs. Nashville Predators M. Sundin - 43
O. Nolan - 28
G. Roberts - 27

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Maple Leafs 3, Lightning 0

Go Leafs Go!With this win the Leafs set a franchise record for consecutive games registering at least a point with twelve. We're also tied for the overall league lead with Philadelphia. The Leafs are kicking ass, it's as simple as that.

The line of Mats Sundin, Gary Roberts and Mikael Renberg played another great game. Sundin hit a milestone by recording his 600th career assist. When amassing a streak of this nature, you have to be solid between the pipes. Eddie Belfour continued his great season recording his fourth shutout of the year and third in his past six games. If you haven't done so already, you may want to consider jumping on this bandwagon. It's shaping up to be a dream season and dare I suggest we're only going to get better before the playoffs commence.

Current Record  Last Game Season Leaders
18-6-5-3
44 points
3-0 Win vs. Tampa Bay Lightning M. Sundin - 32
O. Nolan - 21
G. Roberts - 20

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Talkin' Hockey

LeafsIt's been way too long since we've been able to talk Maple Leaf hockey. Sure, we've talked about the NHL, but it's been all about labour negotiations and lock outs and season cancellations. I want to be able to talk about Belfour's edge and Sundin's scoring streak. I want to discuss the resurgence of Colaiacovo and the potential of Steen. I want to talk hockey.

The Globe and Mail has yet another story about the imminent deal. The NHL lockout is in its final days and I'll return to writing about Leaf games, trades, rants and tirades. In anticipation of this near future, here are the Maple Leafs all-time scoring leaders.

  1. Darryl Sittler - 916
  2. Dave Keon - 858
  3. Borje Salming - 768
  4. Mats Sundin - 755
  5. George Armstrong - 713
  6. Ron Ellis - 640
  7. Frank Mahovlich - 597
  8. Bob Pulford - 563
  9. Ted Kennedy - 560
  10. Rick Vaive - 537

Of the ten players above, I only have memories of watching Salming, Vaive and Sundin. My memory of Armstrong involves a slippery set of dentures.

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