Sunday, December 21, 2008

Leaf fans upset with Mats Sundin

There is a lot of back and forth on whether Leaf fans are justified in being upset with Mats Sundin. Many fans believe he owned the loyal fans some payback for the his huge paychecks by allowing the team to trade him for prospects. While others feel he has been very loyal to the organization that has failed both him and the fans.

Frankly no one is wrong on this one. Fans have a right to be upset. He refused to waive his no trade contract which he had every right to do. He indicated that he did not want to be a rental player. He suggested that he would only be comfortable playing for a team right from the start of the season. He repeated over and over that he could not see himself wearing another team's jersey. He could displayed his "undying" loyalty to the team and city by working with management to facilitate a trade that would benefit both he and the Leafs. Unfortunately he couldn't find it in him to do that. Players like Ron Francis, Brian Leetch, Ray Bourque accommodate their teams and in some cases landed on a Stanley Cup winner.

However, he had no obligation to help a team that no longer really wanted him. He was a model players for 14 years that never knocked an organization that at times was a laughing stock. He was one of the most productive players ever to wear a Leaf jersey although very well compensated. He gave it all he had although management never provided him with any decent linemates. He never jumped ship until he was literally push overboard.

Many fans were expecting more that he was able to give and because of that he legacy as a Leaf may be tarnished. Only time will tell. He was a great player although I never felt he carried the team through even a single round of the playoffs (unlike Gary Roberts or Curtis Joseph). Somehow I doubt he will be able to do with with the Canucks. I wish him well.