Mats Sundin was at the Stanley Cup Finals to receive the Mark Messier Award. The media had the opportunity to get some more insights about the plans of the current Leafs captain.
And well, rumours have it that the Red Wings and the Canadiens are in the race to sign the big "C" of the Habs' long-time rivals.
If I were a Leafs fan, I would take it really hard (I'm sorry) that my captain would go and sign with the enemy. Honestly, I would go as far as booing him...(no, maybe not).
But I wanted to get the opinion of a true Leafs fan, no one else than the Toronto Community Leader himself: Derek Harmsworth. In response, Derek wrote an interesting article regarding the matter and the way the Leafs fans may take the news (if it would have to happen).
First things first: I have to acknowledge the true heart of a true leader.
Sundin has said it out loud at the trade deadline, and he said it again yesterday, that he wants to remain a Leaf. Actually, at the moment of the trade deadline, some said that as a true leader, he should have waived his clause to let the team go on in the rebuilding era.
But there is always a but to every sentence, as Sundin added, "For me to come back to Toronto, Toronto has to really show they want me back." As Derek says, he plays the good guy in the story.
Taking a look at the Montreal's side, yes, the team has improved a lot. The youngsters have been amazing, and under the lead of Kovalev and Koivu, they are heading to the right direction.
But we have to face the hard truth of our roster: we still need an impact player. We needed one last year, we needed one last February. No Briere, no Hossa later—we still need a few things to be fixed.
At his last press conference, Gainey said that he wanted to focus his attention on the forward situation. Carbonneau added that he would like to have a player comparable to Koivu and Kovalev in his roster.
For instance, having a strong and imposing player. Second, a center forward of the Saku Koivu's caliber—if not better. And with the possible departure of Brian Smolinski, that would leave a vacant post in the roster for that particular position.
Moreover, he is the kind of veteran that would be needed in such a young team like the Habs.
As I took a look at this year's UFA, Sundin comes on top of the list. And well, Leaf or not Leaf, he IS an impact player. Now for him to sign with the Habs, that is another question. The next question after that: how would Habs fans feel about that? How would you feel about that?
Peter Forsberg said when he was about to come back to the NHL that he would not sign with the Wings due to the rivalry between Colorado and Detroit. He declared he would feel like he was betraying the Avs fans. Well, if Sundin was to do the same, I guess there is no way he would sign with the Bleu Blanc Rouge.
Personally, I would welcome with open arms anyone who has the talent of Sundin.
But for as long as we have known about him, he has been a Nordiques (well...) and he has been a Leaf. When I think about Toronto, he is the first name that comes in my mind. He is not any player, he is THE captain.
Had he given all he had to the Leafs? Derek thinks so. Could he give more for another team? I think so. But I start to have a few doubts about that team being the Montreal Canadiens.
Lately, there have been controversies about having both Saku Koivu and Alexei Kovalev in the room. If Sundin was to sign with the Habs, how many chances do we have to hear Guy Lafleur saying "Kovalev out, Koivu out, Sundin in?"
Finally, this is the hockey business. Anyone can go anywhere. But I wonder: his talent put aside, would he be a good fit for the Canadiens organization? Which brings us to another concern, how far can a player bring the loyalty he has for a team he really loves?
Please note, this is all about rumours.
Special thanks to Toronto fan, Derek, for his help in the realization of this article.
On this sad day that we learn the loss of Canucks defenseman Luc Bourdon, I would like to send my deepest thoughts to the family, friends, and fans of the young defenseman.