It takes a big man to say a bunch of meaningful things in front of a ton of reporters running devices like cameras and microphones, and then, six months later, do EXACTLY the opposite. How big? Oh, about 6'5, 231 lbs.
Mats Sundin leapt straight into the race for the Stanley Cup by playing his first game last night with the Vancouver Canucks. A team that features... uh... that guy... and, um... those dudes with the goatee's... oh, and Kyle Wellwood! Hmm, with the exception of the (injured) Roberto Luongo, sounds a lot like last years' Leafs; the team he left.
Sundin was always a good politician - saying only what was necessary to say, in polite, flat tones - and like every successful politician, he knows what to say to get all the suckers out there to support him, in spite of the fact that he was made by an elderly woodcarver and hangs out with an sentient cricket.
Don't get me wrong. Posts like this one aren't howling because Sundin went and dared sign with a club other than the Leafs. Look, I get it. Sundin had a NTC and had every right to use it. And naturally, any player has the right to sign with whomever he wants upon contract expiration; that's why contracts aren't for life. The problem with Sundin are the sweetums he uttered which millions of us stood behind, even though we knew it was costing the Leafs dearly. The most notable of these bon mots being:
"I have never believed in the concept of a rental player. It is my belief that winning the Stanley Cup is the greatest thing you can achieve in hockey but for me, in order to appreciate it you have to have been part of the entire journey and that means October through June. I hope everyone will understand and respect my decision."Well, we sure did then. We respected this man's desire to stay a Leaf. Most of us (ok, I) applauded him for wanting to stay and fight it out in a Toronto sweater, when a lot of lesser players would have headed to San Jose, or, (gasp!) Montreal.
But he didn't. He stayed, denied the Leafs an astonishing bounty of picks and players a trade would have brung, then he fucked around over-fishing Lake Blörk Blörk until he got bored and decided to rejoin the NHL but not from October through June. More like January till whenever the Canucks get knocked out of the first round. Yup, that's meaningful.