Mats Sundin: A Tribute to Our Beloved Maple Leafs Captain

Majed RahmanContributor INovember 16, 2009

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke asked us to be patient and Ron Wilson swears it's just a matter of time until Kessel comes back and the offense starts clicking. This was the saying from the Leaf's brass during our nine-game losing streak.

Well Kessel's back and the Leafs...well, still remain as the Leafs of old. Through 18 games, we have managed 11 points. Kessel has been impressive since coming back from the shoulder injury, but one man cannot score all the goals for the Leafs.

The Leafs are well known for doing this:setting up a good player to become a scapegoat for the problems that are created by the management. Kessell's linemates? Stajan, Blake, Ponikorvsky, Garbovsky, are not really players that strike fear into your opposition.

The empty promises of making the playoffs will always be there and Leafs fans will continue to get suckered into paying hundreds of dollars for a team that is better suited for the minors.

This is what Mats Sundin endured during his tenure in Toronto.

Many people constantly bashed Mats for being soft, questioning his leadership skills, and even saying he is undeserving of being the captain of the Maple Leafs. Mats constantly put out 75-plus points every season despite playing with players like Gary Roberts, Tucker, Corson, Hoglund, Domi, Antropov, Ponikorvsky, Rachel and post prime players like Alex Mogilny, Lindros, Niewendiek, Nolan, Allison (players who either spend their entire time on the injured reserve or were about to retire). Not players you can really build teams around.

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Yet, he carried his team;always. Never demanded a trade or for a proper winger—he played it quiet and allowed the GM and coach to do their jobs. Every single great center of our time had an amazing winger or two to playoff,whether it be Joe Sakic who had Hejduk and Forsberg, or Yzerman who always had Shanahan, Thornton had Chechoo, or someone else worth noting.

Mats, well, he did it by himself  and now I hope Leafs fans truly realize how great of a player and leader he really was.

He took this team to the playoffs for pretty much every year that he has been with the team (except for his last couple of years) and its not like his numbers took a dip. He still put up the great numbers. Mats will always be remembered as being a great player and his identity is a champion without a ring.


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