Should Players Be Allowed to Come Back to the NHL Midseason?

Shane House@sghcantcopyAnalyst INovember 19, 2008

With a full season underway and a lot of news being made in the NHL, a couple of topics have been on the table this season and I have to get my thoughts about them off my chest.

First off, player coming back to the NHL in midseason.

Players like Peter Forsberg and Teemu Selanne have been coming into the league mid-season and signing with a team of their choice. Many fans are saying that it is not fair, that players should not be allowed to come back after a certain point in the season.

I do not believe this.

Players have a right to do whatever they please. I mean, you have to be in these players shoes.

Just imagine the scenario. You have worked at a job that you have loved for 20 years and after taking time off to weigh the options and think about retirement, you decide you still want to work. Would you not like the choice to come back and work?

Or would you rather have that company tell you, "sorry, since you did not come back in time and train with everybody else, you cannot come back to work."

You would feel terrible.

The emotions that come with giving up a game that you have played all your life is hard to deal with and sometimes players do not have a choice in the matter due to injuries.

So should players not have that choice? I think they should.

They earned that right when they gave up there lives to play hockey. If you think you have enough in the tank to come back to the NHL then by all means they should be allowed.

They earned it.

Another thing fans talk about is there should be a deadline to come back.

For example, one idea I heard was that after 10 games into the season, they should have to make a decision.

This is preposterous because not a lot of people realize this, but there is a deadline. It is called the Trade Deadline.

Once the trade deadline has passed, no one can be moved via trade, nor any team is allowed to sign anybody via free agency.

Although it maybe a very late deadline, it still is a deadline that has to be met.

Which brings me to my next topic.

Signing a player so late in the season, for example Peter Forsberg, cheapens a Stanley Cup victory for both the fans and the players.

Guess what? When a team make a trade at the trade deadline with roughly only 15 games left in the schedule, it is just as cheap. Especially for the player who goes to the bad team and watches his team win the Stanley Cup.

How do you think he feels?

The player on the winning team may have a cheapened experience of winning, but it is better then being the guy on the worse team who feels cheated out of a Stanley Cup.

Also, a lot of fans say if there team signs Mats Sundin and they win the Cup, they will feel like winning the Stanley Cup is a tainted experience.

Sorry, but I am a Leafs fan and if we won the Stanley Cup, or if any team wins the Stanley Cup, no one will be looking back saying "you know what, as great as it was winning the Cup, I just cannot accept it. Mats Sundin ruined the whole experience for me."

I guarantee that instead, you would be dancing on the street, drunk out of your mind, chanting your teams name as loud as you can, (unless you live in a southern state of course.)

Basically, what I am saying is these guys have earned the right to make the choice of coming back, whether it be at the beginning, middle, or near the end of the season.

Which brings me to my next topic: Mats Sundin.

Being a Leafs fan all my life, I have grown up with Mats being our captain, and setting an example for all the players over the years.

I have never been ashamed, or disagreed with any of the choices he has made.

Until two weeks ago.

I have been defending Mats Sundin ever since he decided to not waive his no-trade clause, saying that he would remain loyal to his club and serve his contract like he said.

He said a quote that I have not forgotten to this day, "I refuse to be a rental player in this league. I don't believe that it is right to do and that all players should have to serve out the rest of there contract like intended."

I respected that. I respected the loyalty he had shown to the Maple Leafs organization and I honestly believed that it was a true and honest statement.

Hence why, for so long I have defended his choice to wait and figure out whether he has the desire to come back, or if he is hanging them up for good and has nothing left in the tank.

That was until recently when I found out something that made me very sick.

Mats Sundin put his Toronto residence on the market and is selling his home.

When I saw this I quickly felt used, played like a fiddle. Made out to look like a fool.

He had cheated the Toronto Maple Leafs, and has lost the respect of everybody in the Toronto fan community.

He is a sellout. He refused to leave the Maple Leafs because he said being a rental player in the NHL is wrong.

So now, instead of having some blue chip prospects, we are left with nothing but a mediocre team and a dried up prospect pool.

If Sundin was going to do this, he should have left last year and rode out of Toronto into the sunset, leaving behind a great career to achieve something that he deserves. Instead of doing what he is doing now.

So now this year, with the thoughts of Mats Sundin coming back to the NHL, I got one thing to say about him and his situation.

You cheated the Maple Leafs out of a future and have hindered this organization for more years then it should have been. If you do come back this year, unless you come back Toronto, then everything you stood for was a sham and your legacy as a Leaf will forever be tainted in my eyes.

So here is to the hopes of Mats coming back, to both help the Leafs, and save his reputation.


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