Loyalty buys Sundin abuse of Leafs fans

A tale of two captains: how would Habs fans react if Koivu made the same call as Sundin?
Dave Sandford, Getty Images

You can’t win: Mats Sundin, one of roughly seven million players rumoured to be coming to the Canadiens by tomorrow’s trade deadline, decides he wants to finish the season, at least, as a Toronto Maple Leaf, refusing yesterday to waive his no-trade clause.

And his loyalty to the franchise, after being told by the club that they want to unload him, is to have fans rip him for selfishness, i.e., not letting the Leafs rebuild for what they might get in exchange for him. This is after Sundin chose to stay, and honour a contract which gives him the right to do so … which the club gladly signed before saying it wants to dump him.

I’m not the world’s biggest Mats Sundin fan, but I say good for him. And yet he’s shredded for his loyalty. What am I missing here?

(And while there’s no suggestion that the Canadiens have similarly asked captain Saku Koivu to waive his NTC, what would the reaction be among Habs fans if they did and Koivu responded as Sundin has?)

85 Comments

  1. 24 Cups says:

    “even rats know when it’s time to leave the sinking ship” – I take it we’re now talking about Darcy Tucker:-)

    The Original 24 Cups

  2. Morenz7 says:

    re Koivu:

    My personal reaction would be shame on the Canadiens. In the NHL, players and managers alike never get tired of excusing cynical transactions by saying, “It’s a business.” Well, if Saturday’s ceremony reminds us of anything, it is that, where Montreal is concerned, it is more than just a business—that where certain players are concerned, the clichés just won’t do. Unless he wishes to be traded, Koivu should play out his days in a Montreal jersey—just as Gainey did. It would all the more special, given how much player movement we see in today’s NHL.

    Toronto fans feel the same about Mats. And true to form, the Leafs are managing to prove the same point the wrong way. I live in this god-forsaken town, and trust me: for all the fans who might be miffed at Sundin for not peddling his ass for pocket full of promises, there are many more who see him as a special Leaf. They have been touched by his desire not to pull on some other team’s sweater, and they are appalled that the club has put him in this position,. He’s not the one who ruined the team, after all. Asking him to waive his no-trade clause may look like good business, but considering how much of their souls Leaf fans pour into this team, it’s tin-eared hockey management.

  3. Jay in PA says:

    Sundin to leafs fans: I love you, my darlings, and I will never leave you.
    leafs fans to Sundin: If you really loved us, you’d get out of the way so we could date someone younger.
    Sundin to leafs fans: And for this I spent half my career sharing a dressing room with Darcy Tucker?

  4. showey47 says:

    I don’t think hab fans would abuse koivu if he refused to waive his clause. First of all, our situation and the laffs are totally different. We are so deep in prospects its almost embarrassing , the laffs cupboards are bare. Second of all, we would not get nearly the same return for koivu as toronto would get for sundin. Whatever we got in a trade for saku would never be able to replace him immediatly or down the road.

  5. Sbah Reverof says:

    Leaf fans need a reminder, from time to time, of what the Cup looks like.

  6. Richard says:

    Please, he did it because he doesn’t want to move his family. For that reason alone: good for him. He put his family above his job.

    But let’s be honest: He was put in a catch-22. He could have left and watch as Leafs fan mangle him for abandoning (spelling?) them for a front-runner after claiming loyalty for years or alternatively staying put and being torn apart for being selfish and not helping the team.

    As a Habs fan, I have always had a certain respect for Sundin despite his association with a despicable organization. Now I have nothing for pity for Sundin, as I laugh at the thought of the Leafs 5 year plan for recovery suddenly being thrust into a 7-10 year plan at best.

    Last year’s Montreal/Toronto game to end the season was exciting, emotional, and disappointing. This year’s, and for many years to come, it will simply be irrelevant.

  7. ddawwidd says:

    Habs fans would rip Koivu as well. I am really sorry, I love Canadiens fans, but being a guy “from the outside” I’m often stunned by the lack of support shown by the fans when things don’t go well.

    As I’ve written before, Sundin is a class act. If some GM was stupid enough to put half of his team on NTC, that’s his problem. Or maybe the guy who hired the GM should be worried? What’s the point of having a NTC when every time you use it you get publicly executed? That’s as funny as ripping a player into pieces because he is taking the salary assured by his contract.

    On the other hand – don’t you think there is something special about Swedish players? In the positive sense, I mean. One does not believe in rental players, so he stays on a sinking ship, knowing that half of the league would take him. The other was talking about going back home to his family for half of his career (Lidstrom – thank heavens he changed his mind). And the another actually did come back home because he missed his friends (Jorgen Jonsson, anyone remembers? If I’m not wrong, he played more games in Swedish national team than anyone else). Such guys make me believe this is still sports, not stock market, after all.

    Geez, this one was long. Sorry everyone.

  8. Blitzen says:

    It’s not Sundin’s problem that the Laffs can’t draft worth a damn or trade away their youth for stiffs.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  9. ZepFan2 says:

    “The Leafs are in desperate need to rebuild. Sundin knows this. By not even helping as far as just being a “rental” player is concerned is selfish. Hats off to his loyalty, but he should put his team first. By not waiving his rightful NTC, he is denying the Leafs prospects/draft picks which they desperately need.”

    I couldn’t have said it better!

    He and the rest of the hockey World knew he’d be going back to the laffs in the summer. Why not waive your ntc so the team can get the necessary prospects to help the team and Mats Sundin in the long run.

    I would applaud Koivu if the roles were reversed and he waived his ntc, knowing full well he’d be back here next year helping and playing with the new players his team acquired for his ‘rental’.

  10. Ian G Cobb says:

    Selfish.!! A contract was signed by both parties, a legal contract, does that not mean anything to you. Maybe learn a new word, HONOUR.!!!!

  11. ddawwidd says:

    Oh, how I would like to go opposite way ;)

  12. Blitzen says:

    If the Habs ever make a trade with the Laffs they should ask that the Hall of Fame be added in.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  13. RH says:

    A contract is a contract. If there’s a NTC in that contract, then that has to be upheld. What’s the point of a contract if it’s not going to be honoured? Now, if players were paid by the hour……

  14. RGM says:

    I dislike him immensely because of his team colours, but I have a sense of respect for Mats for sticking to his guns and remaining consistent in his position. He said, from the outset, that he did not want to leave Toronto. Even after the organization tried to throw him under the bus, he stuck with that decision despite what must have been a somewhat devastating acceptance that the organization which he has carried the flag for for 14 years wanted to be rid of him. They signed a contract which stated he cannot be traded without his permission; I don’t know what, if any, leverage was used by the Sundin camp to get that clause inserted (i.e. did he threaten to walk?) and it’s really not relevant. The club and player agreed to those terms, and the club chose to put the cart before the horse by trying to make a move for him when he had not consented to being moved.

    Would this ever happen to Saku and Montreal? Truly, I hope not. There are few NHL’ers for whom I have more respect and admiration for than our captain. Yes he takes too many penalties, yes he’s not scoring like he was last year, yes he appears to be fading out as a major offensive threat. But it’s Saku. I realize that we live in a world where Wayne Gretzky got traded. But Saku is as much the core of this team as any individual has been in a couple decades. That may not mean he’s been the captain charging towards the latest Stanley Cup glory, but when you think of the Montreal Canadiens from 1996 to the present, one person’s name stands out above all others.

    I truly hope that the organization would never so publicly embarrass this man after all they have been through together. It would be a damn shame to see what’s been going on with Mats come around and hound our team, our players, our captain in the same way.

    See you April 5th at the Bell Centre!

  15. Dave Stubbs says:

    So the Leafs can sign out the Stanley Cup like a sterling library book any time they want?

    Dave Stubbs

    Habs Inside/Out
    Sports Feature Writer, Montreal Gazette

     

  16. showey47 says:

    Because its the only way to get the stanley cup in toronto.

  17. Blitzen says:

    Someone remind me: why is the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto again?
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  18. Blitzen says:

    Sooooooooooooooo, what do you think the Laffs will be able to get for McCabe to help their rebuilding process? I’m guessing a 2nd or 3rd rounder and a middling prospect. If they’re lucky.

    That is one messed up organization. On the bright side for them is that they may be lining themselves up at the Stamkos/Tavares trough, although retaining Sundin – who will likely play as well as he can to show the fans he cares for the Maple Leafs – may hamper that.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  19. von says:

    The situations are apples and oranges.

    The Leafs are in desperate need to rebuild. Sundin knows this. By not even helping as far as just being a “rental” player is concerned is selfish. Hats off to his loyalty, but he should put his team first. By not waiving his rightful NTC, he is denying the Leafs prospects/draft picks which they desperately need.

    The Habs and Koivu however, have a strong, young team and therefore wouldn’t be such a big deal if Koivu was asked to accept a trade (which I hope doesn’t happen.) Montreal still has plenty of assets that they could use.

    The Leafs meanwhile, MVP was Sundin who would have brought the most in. Scratch his name off the list, and the buyers are a lot less impressed.

    This is also bad news for the Habs, as the list of “impact” players just got a whole lot smaller. Not to mention, teams are going to be a whole lot more desperate.

    Forget Hossa, go for Jokinen. Still will be under contract, and is the big center we’ve always wanted. Plus, Olli might just inspire fellow country-man Saku to pick it up!

  20. drdrew85 says:

    Andrew J. Santos

    As far as would habs fans be like leaf fans and backlash on their captain? i strongly don’t believe so because the habs aren’t in the same position as the leafs are now as far as standings go and the teams future.

  21. Verduner says:

    This scenario represents exactly what is wrong with the owners, and players/agents.

    NOBODY…should be able to tell their employer who has just paid them millions (for no matter how long),the “where, when, and if”, when it comes to a trade.

    The owners/GM’s have allowed this to happen…so now they can all sit back and enjoy their mess.

    GO HABS GO

  22. Chris says:

    We even have a similar story of our own: Mats Naslund left the Habs to go play in Switzerland and Sweden so that his children could grow up in a European lifestyle.

  23. TC says:

    Aside from both being captains the differences between Koivu and Sundin are immense.

    -obviously the two teams are going in different directions and are in opposite situations

    -Mats Sundin remains a top flight NHL player, a future Hall of Famer, a man who is still a first line centre, who as this year has shown us can be difference maker this spring.

    -Saku Koivu appears to be entering the downside of his solid career, has been relegated to a second line player, and is arguably, not fulfilling that role for this year’s Canadiens.

    -if the Canadiens were to think of trading Koivu I would think the market would be dwarfed by a potential Sundin market

    As much as I love Saku Koivu, for all he’s contributed to the Habs both on and off the ice, realistically he has never been an elite NHL player like Mats Sundin. Despite my love for the Habs and hatred all things Leaf it is impossible to deny the truth.

    T.C.
    tc.denault@habsworld.net

  24. habitual says:

    Well, Dave, you seem to have pulled off the improbable, if not the down right incomprehensible: generating sympathy for a much disliked rival.

    If there is angst and flagellation in Leaf land, it should be self-flagellation by the fans. Filling the building every year equals no impetus for the ownership to do anything but count gait receipts.

  25. Sbah Reverof says:

    “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.”
    Good for you, Sundin.
    For shame, Toronto.

  26. Bill H says:

    IF the Canadiens publicly asked Koivu to waive his NTC, then yes, I think he would be crucified by the press. Let’s face it, it comes close to that now with questions about his skill level, what he brings to the team, his salary, and his reluctance to speak French publicly.

    Players who have made such an important contribution to their clubs over the years, players like Koivu and Sundin, hold a special place. That current Leaf management does not recognize that will likely come back and bite them on the ass, as it has for 40 years.

    I hope that the day never comes that Koivu is put in the same situation as Sundin. I hope that some day, after he lifts the Stanley Cup over his head, that his number is hoisted up into the rafters to join the others. That would show proper respect for Koivu, as well as proper respect for the Montreal Canadiens legacy.

  27. showey47 says:

    no where in the article does it say if we were in the same position of the laffs in the way of prospects,lousy team, no future. All it says is if we wanted to trade koivu and he refused to waive his ntc and he refused. It may not be the scenerio in laff land but it is the scenerio portrayed in the article.

  28. bigjames says:

    depends where the trade was to. i think i remember larry robinson saying he would quit before being traded to the bruins and having to play the habs 6 times a year or however many times they played eachother back then. as it was, robinson was traded to the kings, which is like playing on another planet as far as i am concerned. and despite that one cup final showdown, mtl/kings is not exactly a stirring rivalry. but just try to picture robinson in a bruins uniform. i have tried and i cannot conjur it up.

  29. RS says:

    As far as I can tell, Leafs fans are split on this issue. Just as Habs fans would be.

    I respect Sundin’s decision. While I understand the Leafs’ motives, they played this one poorly. So what else is new?

  30. CDK says:

    I think it would be prudent to say that only a small proportion of Leaf fans are ripping Sundin for being selfish. Living in Toronto, I’m surrounded by Leaf fans and every one of them is rather proud of Sundin’s decision. Most fans claim that it’s about time somebody in that organization displayed loyalty and dedication. Perhaps, he’ll represent a new standard for younger Leafs to follow.

  31. RS says:

    Don’t count your chickens…

    That last game of the year may still be vital to the Habs and their playoff hopes. And if the Leafs could prevent the Habs from getting into the playoffs, it would be their Stanley Cup game.

  32. 24 Cups says:

    Sundin signed a one year contract with the Lousy Leafs at slightly below market value so they could make other moves related to the cap (signing Blake). All contracts are negotiated and the no trade clause was part of that deal (which is no different than a union bargaining for an improved dental plan as part of their overall package). Sundin has certainly kept up his part of the bargain as his play has been outstanding this year. And he never gets to centre a Heatley or an Iginla. Is it Sundin’s fault that Toronto never drafted and developed any good kids? Is it his fault that they always made quick fix deals at the deadline? Or that Ferguson gave all his UFA’s no trade clauses? I’m obviously no Leaf fan, but I do live outside Toronto and I can tell you that Sundin has served the Leafs well over the years, both as a player and as a captain. Could you imagine how far down in the standings they would be this year if they didn’t have him?

    Dave Stubbs used the words honour and loyalty in his story. It’s difficult to see how those words apply to the Leafs’ hockey team of the past 40 years. Just ask Dave Keon.

    The Original 24 Cups

  33. TC says:

    If I’m a player and the team agree’s to give me a no-trade contract I’m going to feel a certain sense of security. What is often overlooked in these cases is the life Mats Sundin has built up for himself in Toronto.

    Quite often, we overlook the personal sides of these players and focus only on the professional side.

    And as for the Leafs they’re the ones handing out the no-trade clauses. Now they’re paying the price. I for one, won’t shed a tear.

    T.C.
    tc.denault@habsworld.net

  34. Björn says:

    @Morenz7: Very good post ! I can only agree.

  35. 93miraclecup says:

    then that’s hardly the same scenario. The comparison is, how would hab fans react if the habs were in the leafs’ position? Lousy team, no prospects, seemingly no future, and there was an opportunity to make the situations better by moving Koivu…
    Hab fans would want him to go if it would improve the team.

  36. Habsfan39 says:

    I would be sad if and when the day comes that Koivu goes to another team. I Could see him maybe going to minnesota some day to play with his Bro, if and when that ever becomes a possibility.

    That would probably be the only circumstance that I would be ok with him leaving. Or maybe if he were to pull a Ray Bourque.

    But I dont think we will ever be put in this kind of situation with respect to Koivu. Montreal, with the way they are looking and the direction this team continues to head, montreal is clear of any danger of becoming a perennial loser before koivu’s career is up.

    Koivu probably will continue to decline a bit next year, as he did this year. He wont be a huge cap hit like Sundin will probably be next year should he decide to continue playing.

    -Donovan

  37. N.B.habs fan says:

    It would be the same if Koivu were to not give up his NTC.We allready have fans that want to trade him ,because he gets too many penalites.

  38. Ian Cobb says:

    What do you trade for.? a defense man, or a faceoff guy or a defenseive forward.? cause we have enough goals from this team. Or do we do the smart thing and continue to develop our own. Rome was not built in a day, nor can you buy your way to the top.!

  39. krob1000 says:

    Buy your way to the top??? There is a salary cap Ian lol. What makes you think that by making a trade or signing that we are going to sacrifice anything in the way of development. You can’t win by developing entirely within especially if you don’t tank for a few years and have high draft picks. Even your own guys that develop into stars will want money anyway (ask the Sabres about that one). You also need veteran stars who can provide leadership and production.

  40. habitual says:

    Didn’t we also ship that weazle Tucker to the Leafs? Or did we just leave him at a bus stop with an open ended ticket?

  41. showey47 says:

    We traded him to tampa, i think it was for patrick poulin. We lost the trade but we got rid of a dressing room cancer at the same time.

  42. 1010 says:

    At that time they were in different conferences. Much more risky now- being in the same division. A bad deal could humiliate you for years.

    GO HABS.

  43. showey47 says:

    we also trade paul dipietro (1995) and sylvain lefebvre(1991 or 92) to the laffs?

  44. GPK says:

    We traded Gilmour to the Leafs in 2003, so he could finish his career as a Leaf, which he did one shift later.

  45. habfan53 says:

    So in 20 years Montreal and Toronto have had 2 maybe 3 trades!!

    I remember reading I think in “The Lions of Winter” that the reason Mtl and Toronto don’t trade goes back to Frank Selke Sr leaving Toronto and basically bringing Dick Irvin with him. Conn Smyth refused to deal with Selky after that

  46. Chorske says:

    I’d forgotten about that! One shift- not the way he wanted to go out, I’m sure…

  47. showey47 says:

    I kind of liked kilger, not really sure why he was put on waivers since he was big (on a team that has no size),a very strong skater and likes to hit. Sure he was a first round bust but i would rather have him instead of smolinski on our bottom 2 lines.

  48. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hi coutNY,
    Thanks for the info. to http://www.spectorhockey.net,it is great, put it as my home page.

  49. coutNY says:

    Big surprise! Good for Mats. He was going to take flack either way in this situation. Didn’t he already sign for less this year at the beginning of the season?

    Stick it to them Mats! Let them suffer for another 40! Maybe they’ll bring in a over the hill former impact player to replace you next year with a 5 million + contract and NTC of coarse!

  50. 1010 says:

    It’s a joke how some become people, including members of the media, have made statements regarding how it’s wrong for Sundin to refuse this request. Last year the leaf faithfull- including Damien Cox in an article I believe- stated that it was time for Sundin to show his loyalty to the franchise and sign a shorter contract for less money. This was because of huge salaries handed out to McCabe and Kubina. Sundin complied by signing for far below market value and for one year only. A perfect situation for the leafs considering the mess they had gotten themselves into. His only stipulation was that he not be uprooted during the season and remain with the team he loved[ although I have no idea why].
    That made Sundin a good soldier. Now he’s supposed to uproot and go somewhere that his heart’s not into and then, like a good soldier, return to the great city of Toronto for next season. No doubt, if he’s again,a good soldier, he will resign for less money and and for one year only. That way leafs mismanagement can dump him as soon as he appears to lose a step.
    Well, even if Sundin didn’t say it he must have thought it: it’s not his job to clean up Ferguson’s mess, which as stated before, he tried to help with last year.
    The way this is going they’ll end up alienating the guy the way they have some of their legends from the past.
    Well good for Mats for basically telling them to go to hell.
    And one more thing: he’s right about the rent-a-player, it’s a joke that shouldn’t be allowed.

    GO HABS.

  51. TripleX says:

    Mats Sundin has always been a floater and over rated in the NHL. I DO NOT MEAN HE LACKS TALENT…JUST THE OPPOSITE. He is very talented a can dominate a game, for example, in the Olympics and WC. I am always amazed at how good he really is in these tournaments, and how mediocre in comparison, in the NHL. When Sundin wants to compete he is a marvelous hockey player. I just don’t think the Stanley Cup is anything he strives for, the NHL is just a job with excellent pay and benefits. His passion is playing for Sweden, NOT THE LAFFS…or any other NHL team for that matter.

  52. 24 Cups says:

    1010 – great post – I remember that Damien Cox article.

    The Original 24 Cups

  53. Mr.Hazard says:

    He owes nothing to the team, it’s the team that owes him everything. He’s old, give him a break.

    Ex nihilo nihil fit

  54. port elgin says:

    Sundin is very loyal, not very smart, but very loyal.

  55. Chris says:

    Ouch…because I am very tired and inexcusably stupid. Make that 3 French-Canadian captains. :)

  56. V. says:

    They should be happy he hasn’t abandoned them. He is still a great player (hate to admit it because I absolutely hate him, lol) and if he has decided to stick out the rest of the season with the crap leafs then good for him. It shows he has loyalty for the city he has done so much for and if the fans have nothing better to say than he is selfish, than well, that just shows leafs fans are rude (generalizing here, don’t take offence). Maybe they don’t deserve to have such a classy player on their team but he thinks enough of the fans to at least stick out the rest of the season and I say that is classy.

    P.S. HabsFreak, love your comment about Sundin’s stupid smie after he scores, lol, I also really hate that and always want to punch his face or something, lol.

  57. Chris says:

    I think that the people that are criticizing Sundin are actually in the vocal minority, as other posters have pointed out. One poster pointed out that for the amount of money these guys get paid they should have no say in where they play. As far as I’m concerned, that is a poor argument. If you leave the amount of money entirely aside, there is nothing wrong with what Sundin is saying: he took a pay cut to secure a no-trade claus and he’s comfortable in Toronto. Now transfer that to YOUR career: most of us are more than willing to sacrifice some of our ambitions for a content lifestyle and enjoyable workplace. I see no possible way that that Sundin’s actions could be labeled as a betrayal to the Maple Leafs. He goes out, plays very hard, produces despite minimal support and has always been gracious and courteous to a fan base that has never completely embraced him, despite the fact that he has been as successful a leader as Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour, two of their more beloved captains. People put too much stock in the “leadership” qualities of a captain and how that has some tangible effect on team play. Ron Francis did not become any more of a leader when he won the two Stanley Cups with Pittsburgh after years of futility in Hartford. Ray Bourque did not suddenly become a leader when he finally won the Stanley Cup in Colorado after years of close-calls with the Bruins.

    A lot of the negativity towards Sundin (and all European captains, for that matter) is based around some small-minded “Canadian is best” rhetoric. For example, we are all reminded constantly of how no team captained by a European has ever won a Stanley Cup. Since 1980, when Lars-Erik Sjoberg of the Winnipeg Jets became the first European trained captain of an NHL franchise, no Europeans have won the Stanley Cup as captain. Of course, only two French-Canadians (Mario Lemieux and Denis Potvin) and one American (Derian Hatcher) have won the Stanley Cup as captains since 1980. Should this be read as proof that French-Canadians and Americans are lesser captains as well? I would emphatically argue no, but I’m sure many are thinking yes.

  58. moeman says:

    “I have carefully considered the team’s request that I waive my no-trade clause …
    so the actual request was still a very difficult one for me to contemplate.”

    ~ mats, taking his classic backhand and scoring one on the mlse

  59. habfan53 says:

    A third French CANADIEN would be our own Guy Carbonneau in ’93 How could you forget?

  60. Blitzen says:

    Just be thankful that none of the RDS Forum “contributors” are the Habs GM. A couple of guys are willing to give away all of our prospects for Hossa.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  61. Ian G Cobb says:

    Boy.! will I be happy on wenesday and all this nonsense is over with. I will be surprised if we trade at all.!! What for???

  62. Cable Guy says:

    Why should we trade? Isn’t it obvious Ian. We got shutout 3-0 on Bob Gainey night…lol

  63. Chorske says:

    Toronto management mishandled this from day one. By PUBLICLY announcing that they were asking Sundin to waive his NTC, they give serious indication that they have an offer that could benefit the team long term. But it rather sh!ttily puts the onus on Sundin to leave the city he loves and uproot his family, and makes him the bad guy. I really feel for Sundin- he negotiated a contract in good faith and now management are making him the scapegoat.

    The best way to do this would have been to approach Sundin QUIETLY, ask, get turned down, and move on to trading guys like McCabe or Karberle.

    The only thing that sucks more than Toronto management are Toronto fans, for turning on Sundin because *gasp* he loves playing in Toronto, and wants to finish his career there.

  64. Jay in PA says:

    You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Approaching him quietly, ahead of time would have put the team in a position in which they would have been able to positively spin the situation no matter what the answer. Doing it all publicly like this is casting the organization and its players in the worst possible light and is tantamount to airing the team’s dirty laundry. The leafs have just reached a level of obvious desperation that I’ve never seen within an otherwise successful franchise. Hell, I’ve never seen it outside of high school.

    A team with less money and more perspective would take a reasoned approach and rebuild from within. It won’t happen, though. This team has too much money and too little patience, and it will always be seduced by quick fixes that create hope within the fan base but ultimately fail to produce the desired results. MLSE has built the perfect sh!tstorm for itself, and none of its decisions or actions so far suggest that anything will change.

  65. kevrob says:

    I wonder if he will take a pay cut next season to stay with his beloved Leafs.

  66. Blitzen says:

    MLSE will probably make him a league-minimum contract offer just to show how much they appreciate his loyalty.

    When a guy asks for a NTC, do you think that maybe it’s because he plans on not moving? I don’t get why this is suddenly a big surprise and such a shock.
    _____________________________________________________
    Remember February 19th: The Comeback

  67. habfan53 says:

    Dave I think your question was “How would Montreal fans react”

    Montreal fans would be EXACTLY the same.

    I live just outside Toronto and I have been listening to this garbage since before Fletcher came on board.
    MOST fans agree with Sundin, The vocal majority say he has no loyalty.
    They are defending an organization who had Keon, Sitler, Ramage, Clark and Gilmour as captains but NOT ONE finished their career in the Blue and White.(Gilmour did but was traded then cameback for 2 shifts)

    The reason I say that Montreal fans would react the same just look at this site. Last month when Saku was going through a rough period there was a lot of calls for him to be traded benched whatever, for each one of those there was a counter post saying that this organization was SAKU and we should leave him alone he would come around.

  68. habfan53 says:

    Now that the Sundin trade is dead in the water, When was the last time MTL and T.O traded players ?? Was it the Kordic for Courtnall deal??

  69. Cable Guy says:

    That was the last trade. Toronto also claimed Kilger off waivers from us in 2004.

  70. smiler2729 says:

    I’m an ex-Montrealer and of course, a lifelong Habs fan, living now in southern Ontario for 20 years and I get the Leafs and everything Blue & White shoved into my face every day. These people live in a dream world here, where the Leafs should win the Cup every year and DESERVE to win it because they feel they are the centre of all things hockey. In reality, their team has been a running joke going into a fourth decade.
    Now to Mats Sundin – this guy is a talented player BUT is extremely overrated by Laffs Nation, statistically his best years were in Quebec with the Nords all those years ago and in my opinion is NOT captain material, a leader maybe, but not THE leader. Let’s just let the Leafs roll in their own misery with this whole Sundin NTC thing, that organization deserves it. Personally, the NHL’s a business and Sundin’s being selfish but hey, they gave him the NTC and I want the Leafs to suck forever!
    The Montreal Canadiens as an organization, on the other hand, handle things very differently and have become the benchmark for hohouring their players past and present so any Saku Koivu/NTC scenario like Sundin’s would never happen, at least not publically like Toronto did it.
    Granted, Koivu’s been playing very frustrated this season (stupid penalties and ineffective linemates) but has never publically whined about it like a prima donna and should be commended for it. Saku will go when he wants, he is such an inspiration and such a class act (buying an MRI machine for the Montreal children’s hospital with his own money!), I hope everybody can respect him no matter what he decides.
    We’re better than Toronto… in oh so many ways.

  71. habfan53 says:

    Basically agree with you but lets clarify Sundin has NEVER whined or complained.

  72. dusty baker says:

    You just look like a huge homer if you complain about Sundin’s lack of production and then say that Koivu gets a pass because of bad linemates. Sundin is stuck with linemates who are just as bad.

  73. moeman says:

    Aren’t they actually entering their 5th decade? They’ve already bagged 41 years and are nearing the half-century mark.

    ~ have a powerful day ~

  74. carmine007 says:

    If Koivu did the same thing I would love him even MORE!

    Sundin is happy in Toronto and one or two players during the off season can make a world of difference.

    It’s NEVER over til it’s OVER!

  75. Frink says:

    The way that joke of a franchise is managed, a rental player and draft picks aren’t anywhere near enough to help them. Good for Mats that he stuck to his words. So many times we’ve seen players say one thing, yet do another.

  76. showey47 says:

    very true, sundin is a franchise center who makes his wingers look better than they actually are. Koivu needs good wingers to produce. Hurts to say, but its the truth.

  77. port elgin says:

    Sundin a franchise player? Ha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! good one!
    He’s an over rated bum.

  78. johnnyhab says:

    Typical Laff Fans…all this Guy done for Toronto carried the team on his back…and this is the thanks he gets. Totally classless all he wants to do is play for his team and stay loyal more NHLers should follow Sundin’s lead.

  79. piche says:

    Interesting question regarding Koivu… I would say the persecution would be worse than anything Sundin will be seeing and Koivu has given just as much (if not more) to Montreal (not in points of course).

  80. coutNY says:

    I was thinking the same thing… but since we’re in playoff contention and Propect rich (unlike the lowly LAFFS), we are not in the exactly the same predicument thank god!

  81. projectpete19 says:

    since Sundin’s contract is up this year, if he retires or signs a longer deal with Toronto in the off season than there is nothing wrong with what he is doing, on the other hand if he signs with a different team in the offseason than the leaf fans have a reason to be royally pissed

  82. Smart Dog says:

    While I respect Sundin – and it’s his full right – it’s obvious too that if he wants to do what’s best for the Leafs, he would have agreed to a trade.

    They have no chance at the cup this year and he could sign with the Leafs again in June if he wanted. Meanwhile, he could help them improve the team.

    Hard to call how to feel about this. As a Habs fan I’m happy!

    ________________________________________________________________
    Habs Fans! The FUTURE looks bright:
    Plekanec, Higgins, Chipchura, A Kostitsyn, Lapierre, Latendress,
    Price, S Kostitsyn, Komisuarus, O’Byrne

  83. tony d says:

    Dave, would you expect anything less from Leaf nation?
    Sundin is the only classy aspect of that organization. He is the team.
    I hope karma kicks in and bites his team big time….oh wait a sec, I forgot, it already has.
    Matts, good luck in the future, you deserve better my man.

  84. 93miraclecup says:

    Hab fans would react the same way, if not worse, because we got used to championships and now feel we’re starving during a drought.
    All fans want their team to compete and players come and go but the team remains so the ultimate loyalty stays with the team.


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