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There are some days where it just sucks to be a Leafs fan, aren't there?

Regular readers know I have long defended Mats' right to do whatever he wants. He more than earned that by carrying the mail with class, dedication and skill for a decade and a half. And all he ever did was abide by the terms of the contract the Leafs negotiated with him.

That said, I was pretty pissed off when I found out he was coming here. Perhaps because I think the Canucks are a longshot at best in the tough Western Conference and the signing seems all about the money. But really, that's not it. Athletes, like almost anyone, follow the money and it's pretty hard to sit back and judge when the extra four million a year or whatever being waved in our face.

No, for me this is personal. If he had signed with New York, I would have wished him all the best. Hell, I would have cheered for the Rangers in the playoffs and hoped to see Mats raise the Cup. But I live in Vancouver. Over the past few years the parochial, bandwagon, Leaf haters for no good reason mentality of not all, but way too many, Canucks fans and media has grown to irk the shit out of me. Between the 11 year old at a card show trying to talk 1967 smack to Jorn and I or Dave Pratt ripping Sundin for months on the radio before today praising him as the Second Coming, or puppets crushing blue and white cars, I have become the rarity Vancouver fans think is commonplace: the Leafs fan who actively hates the Canucks and hopes the worst for the team.

So seeing Mats get up at the presser, pull on that banal blue and green, and talk about the great franchise and its tremendous fans is gonna sting. Last month, I went to GM Place to see the Leafs play. It was a great night, highlighted by lots of boisterous smack talk between Canucks fans and the ten thousand or so Leafs fans who took over the building. What was the jersey most of those Leafs fans were wearing?

Yeah, yeah, things change. I know it's not rational, but if it were about that I wouldn't be a Leafs fan at all. All I know is, a few days or weeks from now I'll be walking around and I'll see someone in a Canucks jersey. As they pass by, I'll notice it reads SUNDIN 13. And that'll just feel wrong as all hell.

So thanks for the memories, Mats. It'll be great seeing you honoured at the ACC in a few years. In the meantime I hope your new team tanks, Luongo's groin explodes, and you miss the playoffs.

11 Comments

Manny Darkov (aka bkblades) said:

Maybe because I'm nowhere near Vancouver, but my level of emotion is missing in regards to this whole situation. I'm ultimately disappointed that Sundin signed with the Canucks, but my hate for him is almost non-existent. At the same token, I'm not happy either. I'm in a state of lull, similar to how I feel about the entire Vancouver sports scene as a whole. If Sundin ever explains himself, perhaps Leafs fans can all definitively close this era. A part of me feels that if Sundin came out and said, "Screw the Leafs - I'm done with you" this affair wouldn't have been so utterly pointless in the end.

Of course, I'm allowed to change my mind completely if/when Sundin buries the Leafs two months from now. Sundin will want it no other way.

On years that the Leafs don't make the playoffs I always pick a team (usually from the Western Conference) to cheer for throughout the Stanley Cup Run.

Typically it will be a team from a market that hasn't won a Cup yet. Thus I was happy when the Ducks, Caines and Lightening all won over the past few years.

My other Criteria are: It can't be a team that the Leafs have had a serious rivalry with. That's why I never cheered for the Sens when they were the only remaining Canadian team a two years ago. In fact I never buy into that "cheer for the only Canadian team that's left" crap. All the teams are stocked with Canadians in fact when the Lightening beat the Flames they had more Canadians on their squad than Calgary did.

At the same time I am kind of torn. I really like the Canucks this year. I like the kind of hockey they play and I don't begrudge Mats going to the socialist utopia

However if the Canucks do actually manage to hoist the cup as a Leaf fan I won't be able to counter that 67 bs from Vancouver fans by saying "yeah? well you haven't won a cup EVER!!!".

So I might have to actually break my rule a bit this year. My proxy team for the Cup run hierarchy will now look like this:

1. San Jose
2. Chicago
3. Nashville
4 Any non Vancouver West Coast team
4 (gulp) some east Coast team ( I will reserve judgment on this no matter what happens Ottawa will never get my proxy fandom. But they don't look like they will finish higher than even the Leafs this year.

Mats' picture can now go in a photo gallery alongside Sittler as a Flyer and Keon as a Whaler as part of a horror show for Leaf fans.

They should have traded for Sakic in '94.

Wohn Jensink said:

FUCK THE RANGERS.

Jingle said:

The writer is so correct it hurts me. As a life long Leafs fan from Halifax, who has lived in Vancouver for 4 years now, this irks me to no end.

The way that people in Vancouver act like the Leafs are their great rival, when we in fact could care less about their ice capades has always amazed me. I do hate the Cannots as well, but only because it makes no sense to me that the Swedish Synchronized Skating Team feels it necessary to try to inject themselves into the conversation about the Leafs.

Leafs fans don't hate the Cannots, they could honestly care less what happens to you, but they would probably pull for you if you were competing for the Cup. (That whole keep it in Canada thing.) I do know for a fact though, that people in Vancouver would cheer for the Wild or Avalanche to beat the Leafs in the SCFs. And those are their true rivals, though they are too blinded by their inferiority complex to see that simple truth.

Yes, I said inferiority complex. The TV tells me 500 times a day that I live in "The Best Place on Earth." (A lil too Disney for my liking.) I'm constantly bombarded by people who tell me that this is the world's greatest city, or spew some other such nonsense. Seems like if it's repeated often enough, maybe these morons will actually believe it. But no, someone is carrying a rather large and useless chip around on their shoulders.

Bottom line for me: I have always respected Mats Sundin. He is a quality hockey player, a decent leader, and from what I can tell, a good human being. The day Wendy was traded, a little piece of me died, but damn, that Swedish giant we got back sure helped ease the pain.

That said, during this whole exercise, there is one thought that keeps coming back to me. I remember last year at the deadline, Mein Kapitan clearly stating that the chase for the cup begins in training camp, in...oh when was that again...Ah yes, September. No rental player was he going to be, parachuting in mid-season, in order to get his name on that holy chalice. That's just not the way a man of principle like Mats would want to do it. No hollow victories for our boy, oh no.

So I guess signing with a "team" 3 months after training camp is OK in this case. Smacks of hypocrisy to me, but what do I know, I'm just a fan. At least I'll take solace in knowing that the hockey gods will continue to punish this city for its arrogance, and this franchise for its stupidity.

Mats and the rest of the Ice Capades, I wish you lots of luck. Just not the good kind.

Godd Till said:

Hey Jingle, thanks for stopping by. Unlike you though, I find it pretty hard to root for other Canadian teams to win the Cup, given that it will never be reciprocated. I was hoping for Edmonton a few years ago.

If you're new to the blog, you may appreciate this other piece I wrote about the Canucks-Leafs 'rivalry.'

http://www.coxbloc.com/2008/10/exile_on_main_street.html

Hey have you really banned me? My comment didn't appear.

Ok now it did but you censored it!! HAHAHAH I just said Sundin was going for purely capitalist reasons IE money. Why was that so terrible?

Wohn Jensink said:

Wow, so much venom for a non-rivalry. It reminds me of the non-rivalry England has with France.

And speaking of socialist utopias, does anyone even go to games in Nashville and Columbus? They seem emptier than a Ted Nugent concert. Detroit must be doing great too, now that union-busting has really allowed people to upgrade from the proletarian shame of going to see the Wings to skiing in the Alps. Its sad to see hockey suffer during such times of abundance.

Sats Mundin said:

Mine didn't either, and I'm Sats Mundin!

Kim Jorn said:

Hey Meatriarchy,

We may not agree on politics, but your criteria for choosing a Cup team is bang-on. I generally exclude all of the Canadian teams as well as the Flyers and Devils. After that, any team can win my affection during a cup run.

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This page contains a single entry by Godd Till published on December 18, 2008 10:11 PM.

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