Monday, March 31, 2008

Why is Mats Sundin still playing?

Here's something to ponder while we wait for the season to end: Why would a 37-year-old with a torn groin muscle risk further injury to continue playing in completely meaningless games?

This being the Leafs, of course, we don't really know how bad Mats Sundin's injury is. But we do know that he couldn't play last Tuesday in the most important game of the season. With the Leafs facing a game they absolutely had to win, Sundin couldn't go. Not even part-time duty. And yet four days later, there he was taking a regular shift for a game against Montreal that didn't mean a thing.

Could he really gone from "can't play at all" to "100% healthy" in four days? Not likely. And if he's still hurt, there must be at least some risk of reinjury. With the season already a writeoff, why not pack it in now and focus on doing whatever it takes to get healthy for next year -- whether that means surgery, treatment, or just a few weeks of rest?

The decision to keep suiting up simply doesn't make any sense.


Unless Mats knows something we don't.

Maybe he doesn't care about being healthy for next year, because he knows there won't be one. If Mats has already decided to retire -- or is strongly leaning that way -- then it would make sense to keep playing. Maybe he suspects that this is his last week as an NHL player. Maybe he doesn't want to go out like Doug Gilmour, stuck on the injured list and watching from the press box.

Maybe not. Maybe he's just making a bad choice. It certainly wouldn't be the first time this year.

But things sure makes a lot more sense when you look at them this way, doesn't it?


  1. dude, get over it. why can't you just respect the man's decision?

    it's not selfish if he exercised a clause in his contract. if he got traded and refused to report to a team, that would have been selfish. selfish were berard and lindros, saying they wouldn't play for the team that drafted them. sundin does not belong in that company.

    call him a douche, call him a scumbag, but the man ain't selfish because he did what he wanted to, for his own personal reasons, thanks to a cause negotiated in his own contract, signed by the toronto maple leafs.

    he doesn't owe you, me, the organization, or anyone for that matter, a damn thing.

    he stayed, he had every right to stay, lets deal with it and move forward.

  2. Nobody disputes that he had the right to stay. That doesn't mean his decision can't be selfish. I'd agree that he doesn't deserve to be lumped in with the Lindros/Berard/Yashin crowd. Completely different situations, no question.

    You say "he did what he wanted to, for his own personal reasons". Isn't the pretty much the dictionary definition of a selfish decision?

    In the end, he put his own interests ahead of those of the team. I may have done the same thing if I was in his shoes. It wasn't unethical. But it was selfish. We're all Mats fans, but either words have meaning or they don't.

  3. just because does something for his own reasons does not necessarily make it selfish. that's why i can't agree with you that it was selfish. you say it's selfish because, in my opinion, i feel like you think he owes this city, this franchise, these fans (you and i) something...if you didn't feel like he owed you something, you wouldn't think it was feel like you got ripped off because he owed it to you to leave...when that simply isn't the can't be selfish because he has no allegiance to anyone but mats sundin...

  4. I think we're actually pretty close to being on the same page, just using different terms.

    I'd argue that Sundin does owe the fans and the franchise something -- after all, they've paid him about $40M over the last decade. If he has no allegiance to anyone but himself then maybe he isn't the leader we thought he was.

    But he did have his NTC, he had the right to use it, and I can understand why he did. I don't have to like it, though.

  5. that's pro sports. he's priveleged to play and earn a hefty salary doing it. that doesn't mean he owes anything to the fans or the city. because at any point (b4 he had a no trade) he could have been traded and had his life turned upside down.

    he never asked for that $40 was given to him...i just don't think we can hold our athletes to this standard, that they owe us something...we'd have all been over mats if he said "fuck the leafs, i am gone"...hell, he may do that this off-season...but i just can't say that he owes us something...there is no loyalty in pro sports...

    the leafs have only always looked out for themselves...sundin was only doing the same...

    great post tho. i'm enjoying your blog. keep it up. and represent out there in ottawa

    peace sean