Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sundin Trades a Cup Run for Class

Mats Sundin, a Canadian golden boy and perennial hockey leader, has informed Leafs GM, Cliff Fletcher, that he will not waive his no trade clause. Sundin, who's spent 13 of his roughly 17 years in the league with the Leafs, will be an unrestricted free agent in the off-season and Fletcher was hoping to rent him out to a cup favorite in order to aid in the rebuilding process in Toronto and give Mats a chance at his first Cup. At age 37, Sundin has few years left to win his first cup but despite having his pick of nearly every playoff-bound team, Mats declined saying,

"I cannot leave my teammates and join another NHL Club at this time. 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."

Many players have come before him and have left their home team in order to chase the dream temporarily with a cup favorite but Mats decided it was not the way he wanted to win. To me, this speaks volumes about his class and leadership and illustrates exactly why so many teams were lined up for a shot at his services. Sundin deserves a cup, but with Toronto clearly embarking on an intensive, and much needed, re-build he may never get it. Many will accuse Mats of hurting that rebuilding effort and claim that he should have allowed Fletcher to get some value for him and then just re-signed with Toronto in the off-season. Regardless of one's perspective on that, Mats decision is actually a refreshing one as he will be a leaf until the end and that's something to be celebrated.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for Mats. He definitely shouldn't have to make a decision that doesn't suit what he wants just because MLSE are a bunch of idiots. I hope to still see him back next year as he can help more with a rebuild than most can see, management just needs to clear out the rest of the garbage so Mats can help some legitimate young talent grow.