Friday, December 19, 2008

Sundin picks Robson over Broadway

The Vancouver Canucks have finally harvested that crop they planted last summer, as Mats Sundin finally came to a decision about his playing future for 2008-09, taking the West Coast over the East and the Canucks over the Rangers.

The long drawn out drama, reached its conclusion on Thursday when Canucks GM Mike Gillis, finally free of Vancouver traffic held a press conference to announce the pending arrival of the Swedish star, a much needed boost to the Canucks roster and one which will provide much in the way of excitement in the Canuck dressing room for the remainder of the season.

For Gillis, the bonus is that while delayed a little longer than perhaps the Canucks might have hoped, the mid season arrival of Sundin, will allow the Canucks to still have some space under the salary cap, providing them with yet another window towards the trade deadline to add another key ingredient to the team for a playoff run.

While many suspected that the Big Swede was destined for New York, it appears that the Rangers just couldn’t find enough cap space in their own book keeping to make things work out as Sundin would like. With the Canuck offer still on the table and a tempting one at that, in the end Sundin decided to continue his playing days in Canada, making the Canucks his third Canadian team in his long and impressive career.

Some in Vancouver were busy phoning up the radio call in shows, expressing concern that they were but a second choice, merely the ATM for a rent a player for the remainder of the season. But it’s more than likely that many of those complaints will be rendered moot, once Sundin fits into the Canuck line up.

Obviously a star on his own, once on the ice he will automatically take away the opposition’s key defenders, allowing more free ice for fellow Swedes Henrik and Daniel Sedin, who have been finding that they have become the centre of attention from the nightly opposition.

Sundin will also prove to be invaluable on the Canuck’s power play, which has sputtered at times during this season, leaving important points behind in what otherwise should have been victories.

There are no doubt many reasons (mostly dollar bills totaling to upwards of five million) for his choice of Vancouver over New York, but one factor that can’t be overlooked is the large number of Swedes currently on the Canuck roster.

While Don Cherry probably won’t be rushing out to buy a Canucks uniform any time soon, the arrival of Sundin, combined with the Sedins, Alexander Edler and Mattias Ohlund will probably do wonders for the sweater sales overseas.

Sundin will spend Christmas in Sweden and anticipates being in Vancouver by the end of the month, ready to help the Canucks make the push to the playoffs and if all were to go according to his plan, perhaps a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup, a long cherished goal of the former Leaf captain, but one which has proven to be rather elusive over is career.

Globe and Mail-- Sundin is a Canuck

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