Yeah, he didn't wave his no trade clause, but I can still remember why he had it in the first place.
The conference finals, the Sens series, the overtime goals. He didn't sabotage anything, it was the ****ing management that signed the Mccabe contract (among others), traded for Raycroft and Toskala, and in general forced the team to keep competing for a playoff spot as they got more and more mediocre.
Rebuild should have started before/during the lockout.
Mats was a great Leaf but in his last year his time had come. He didn't want to be a rental player but we can all remember the big smile he had on face when Leach and Francis were brought in as rentals. Mats thought it was huge push for the playoffs.
I am befuddled that a player would not jump at an opportunity to win a cup and have such an exciting team to play for like the pens that year. Mats would have made them so much better than Hossa could have.
When I remember these NTC coming up I was shocked that such competitive top end hockey players would not want the chance to win a cup. You play to win a championship not just to play. So all of them, McCabe, Sundin, Kaberle and Tucker, Kubina dug their heels in the sand and said no. We want to play for a loosing team and not have a chance to win a cup. So Sundin goes off into summer with his tail between his legs and decides to come back at Christmas and be exactly what? A rental player. McCabe ends up in Florida-great hockey town with potential cup aspirations, Tucker gets bought out and soon his new team sees his body is too worn down but he didn't want to win either. Kubina refused to waive and said he loved playing in a hockey town. Wonder of he still feels that way in Atlanta? And Kaberle? Well, we are still dealing with him.
Were they great Leafs? YES but I question their desire to win, to be a champion. The end started when Pat Quinn was let go. He had respect from his players and demanded respect around the league. If he would have asked any one of those players to waive I bet they would have done it. From a former player to a current player, from a man that has seen it all. They saw how MLSE was treating these people and said ****. Hockey is still an old boys school and the old boy Quinn could have righted the ship. Instead no-lip Ferguson had no guts, no back bone and the players and MLSE played him. That would have never happened with Stavro and Quinn. Steve sat front row and centre every game. Heard all the chants from the crowd and wanted to win bad. Now, we have men hidden by smoke and mirrors, making players out to be bad and fans to be unreasonable and yet increase seat prices every year and charge a ridiculous price for a beer.
TO lost honor long ago. Winning comes from attitude from the top and is rarely heard. Do we see Illitch ranting every week? No. Good owners keep their noses out of it, know who to hire and have a deep deep desire to win. You play any game to win, including business. TO has not had that killer attitude since Conn Smythe sold this team. Stavro never had a long enough tenure to make it happen. Both wanted to win. Conn wanted to win the game and the fight he was so competitive.
My enduring image of Sundin was of getting ripped by his coach in Quebec when he felt the effort wasn't there to get past Montreal. He questioned his will to win. Sundin was a great player, wonderful skills but he lacked the one thing. He didn't know how to win. Call me an idiot but lesser teams did more with less. Buffalo beat TO with a lesser line up to reach the finals. Carolina beat TO with a lesser line up and won a cup. Was Brindamour a better player than Sundin? Not a chance but he went through a wall to win.
I don't want A guy anymore. I want THE guy. Once we have that we will all forget about the rest.
He did a whole heckava lot for this team thats for sure, but he didnt do as much as some other players his age and time did for their teams! But nonetheless, it was thrilling to watch him handle the puck, his presence in front of the net, his wraparounds, milestones. Good leader, just not great
What do you guys think? His number at the top of the rafters in the ACC in a year or two time? He was such a good leader and of the greatest leafs of all time. Players like him don't come along often. He worked his butt of everynight being on the ice for PP, PK, even strengh and the last minute of the game. Your guys call. Do you think it'll be. Do you think it should be?
Put me down as another one who thinks Sundin's number should be honoured for his long-time contributions to the team. As others have pointed out, the Leafs seldom retire numbers (Barilko and Bailey are the only two Leafs who have had their numbers retired, as far as I remember and then there's the league-mandated retirement of Gretzky's #99).
Why? Because he played 13 great seasons for us? Because he was possibly the best player in Leafs history? Because he wouldn't wave his no-trade clause that we gave him because he wanted to play here? Or because he left for his final season because he knew that we had no chance of making the playoffs with or without him?
I find it interesting how he did not want to be a rental, but ended up being one anyway.