It’s hard to believe how quickly things have gone from hope to bust for Mats Sundin. There I was watching the Vancouver Canucks late last night take on the Minnesota Wild, the Wild were up by a goal, trying to hold on, when they took a penalty with under 5 minutes to go in the third. The play went in to the Wild end and the Cancuks had a 6 on 4 advantage. Where was Mats Sundin? Centre, nope. Right Wing? Nope…Ok, playing D- Nope. Mats’s ass was stapled to the bench, right next to Kyle Wellwood. When have you ever seen that? Could you ever imagine that happening to Sundin? Howie talks about the sadness to Cujo’s season, what do you say about Sundin so far??? I know it’s early. However, the Vancouver media is just getting warmed up too:
“The curse of Mats Sundin grows more legendary by the day. His signing brought so much hope to the Canucks. But what always follows Vancouver’s hopes? The word dashed. Instead of reaping the benefits of a player with a Hall-of-Fame billing, the Canucks have been visited by the Grim Reaper. Instead of a large scythe, Sundin carries a Swedish accent, broken wheels and an attraction to penalty boxes.”
Those, the words of Jason Botchford, writing for The Vancouver Sun. Mats Sundin a curse????
“Since Sundin signed on Dec. 18, the Canucks have won four of 18 games. They have lost eight in a row overall, and nine in a row at home. They are two away from tying their all-time winless streak record. And believe it or not, they have a good team. Their visitor’s room is now officially the happiest place on earth.”
Does any of this sound familiar. Forget the signing of Sundin part. Have the Canucks become the toronto maple leafs?
Over at the Province things are less kind:
“Sundin doing nothing to earn his keep
Expectations not being met as time and hope are running out. While your eyes would tell you otherwise, and the stats sheet would back it up, the Vancouver Canucks have insisted that Mats Sundin is close; that the big Swede is a ticking-time bomb on the verge of detonation.”
Yes it is early, and he did miss the majority of the season. Patience may be a virtue, but records for futility aren’t anything to be proud of.
“Maybe it was unrealistic to expect him to make an immediate impact. Maybe it was unrealistic to expect him to step in and be the player we last saw in Toronto.
But, by any reasonable standard, he’s been here long enough to acclimatize himself to the NHL grind and bring his conditioning and timing up to an NHL standard. And not only has he failed there, he’s actually hindered the Canucks’ attempts to get on track.”
Those are not complimentary words, to say the least…
“Against the Wild, the final line told you all you needed to know — just over 17 minutes of ice time, minus-one, no points, three shots on goal, none of which resembled a scoring chance, and two more minors to his rapidly increasing PIM total. But what that ledger doesn’t reveal is the number of times he was put in a position to make a difference; to change the momentum of the game or to sustain momentum in the Canucks’ favour. Alain Vigneault gave Sundin every chance to succeed, every chance to leave his imprint on this game. And each time he failed.”
That is what I thought as I watched the game last night. Sundin looked old. O L D. He had chances to be the old Sundin and just couldn’t do it.
“Late in the second period Sundin was sent out immediately after Roberto Luongo had made a five-alarm save off Pierre-Marc Bouchard and took his second penalty.
Earlier in the middle frame — and right after Ryan Kesler had scored the Canucks’ first goal — he had three shifts during a five-minute power play and while he created a bit of a stir on the third, he couldn’t create a goal. By the end of the game, in fact, Sundin was stapled to the bench when Kesler scored the game-tying goal with Luongo out and the Canucks playing six-on-four.”
The penalties are brutal. We aren’t used to seeing Sundin to take the lazy penalties that he is taking in multiples per game. Yes, it’s early. However, the age old question in sports is here too, when does it stop being early and start to be too late?