Monday, February 25, 2008

Mats won’t waive goodbye to Leafs

It would appear that when Mats Sundin took a pay cut and signed that no trade contract last year, remaining a Maple Leaf was exactly what he wanted out of hockey. Sundin spoke out on Sunday about the recent flurry of speculation regarding his status as a Maple Leaf and relocation will not be in his immediate future.

In a statement released by his agent, Sundin touched on the many issues that have been bouncing around in his head over the last few weeks as the overheated Toronto situation remained on high boil.

"I have always believed I would finish my career as a Toronto Maple Leaf so the actual request was still a very difficult one for me to contemplate. I have spoken to and listened to my family and those closest to me about this issue. In the end, there is no right decision in a situation like this one.

"I cannot leave my team-mates 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."

And unless something drastic should come about in the next twenty four hours to make him change his mind, Sundin will remain a Maple Leaf. His decision will make him a player more likely to be watching the playoffs this April than participating in them.

In a way it’s a bit old fashioned for a player to think of his team first and not his personal situation. Sundin would have been a valuable commodity on the trade market had he wished to increase his chances to hoist the Stanley Cup in June.

But having spent fourteen years in a Maple Leaf uniform, he says that it just wouldn’t be the same coming in as a rental player just to get his name on the Cup. Toronto fans haven’t always been particularly loyal to their captain, so you have to wonder if his own loyalty isn’t a tad misplaced.

In a league that seems to have become one of self serving manoeuvring on the part of both players and management, it’s refreshing in a way to see someone still consider his responsibilities to those he works with and for.

Sundin showed a lot of character in the way he handled this latest episode of the perils of Leafdom, he certainly comes out of it looking better than the organization that can’t ever seem to do the right thing at the right time.

Toronto Star--Sundin stayin put

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