Pauline Papp, Toronto
For a city that never truly backed him, Mats Sundin did it all in Toronto. So, really, why all the hatred?
Was it honestly the Wendel Clark trade that brought on this passionate dislike? After all, Clark only played in 95 NHL games after being traded for Sundin, before once again returning to the Leafs. Surely people aren’t that upset over 95 games? Not for what the Leafs got in return…
Sundin played in a city that ripped him apart from the get-go and, unfortunately, a lot of Toronto fans can’t think of anything beyond what the media tells them. After all, it was only a few years ago, when the papers started to (at last) rave about Tomas Kaberle’s talent, that Toronto fans felt it was OK to go out and start buying his jersey.
True, Sundin wasn’t a Dough Gilmour or Clark. Big deal. Unfortunately, that seems to be the biggest argument against this city’s bizarre hatred for one of the greatest players to ever wear the Blue and White.
The fact of the matter is, Sundin cinched 10 30-goal seasons with Jonas Hogland-type players on his wing. He’s the all-time franchise leader in points, goals, GW goals, PP goals, OT goals and more.
OK, sure, Sundin didn’t bring the Cup to T.O., but then again, neither did Clark or Gilmour, or even Daryl Sittler if we wish to go back further.
It doesn’t seem to matter that Sundin captained Sweden to Olympic gold a few years back, because that accomplishment had nothing to do with the Leafs: it was simply just international competition (you know, where the best of the best play).
I suppose that without a bloody fist, none of the things that Sundin did will ever matter to a lot of Leafs fans.
I can only hope that’s not the case for the Hall of Fame, where he deserves to be.