The Blog of Jerrit Dusome

Random Thoughts from the Mind of a Genius

Mats Sundin Returns to Toronto, and He Deserved the Standing Ovation…

mats-sundin-in-toronto1Even though Mats Sundin no longer wears the white and blue, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t hold a special place in the hearts of the many legions of Leafs fan throughout the province of Ontario.

This point was best shown during the first period of Saturday’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs, when MLSE played a video on the Jumbo-tron honoring their former captain in front of a capacity crowd.

Many were curious as to what kind of reaction Sundin would receive from the Leafs faithful on Saturday, but that question was quickly answered, when during the video tribute he was a given a standing ovation lasting roughly three minutes.

It was clear that not everyone shared those same sentiments, but I was among those cheering and clapping on my feet, even though I was watching the game from my living room.

I have continued to cheer for Sundin during his tenure with Vancouver. Indeed, I wish I was able to watch their games more, as I have become an instant fan of the Canucks when the Leafs are not playing on a particular night.

Even though some may argue that the circumstances behind Sundin leaving Toronto have hurt the Leafs in the long run, I tend to disagree.

With Mats being asked to waive his no trade clause last spring, many felt that a trade involving the superstar would bring in some much needed young talent, as well as a few draft picks. However, this was not to be, as Sundin refused to leave the city he had played in for the past thirteen years.

And he deserved the right to do that, in my mind. Even though at the time it did make me somewhat angry at what I viewed was a selfish move on his behalf, looking back, it was his choice to make, and he made the right decision. Sundin ended his time in Toronto on his own terms, and I am glad that he did.

As for the standing ovation that he received Saturday night, those that argue that he betrayed the Leafs in refusing a trade will also argue that he didn’t deserve to be honored as such. To put it flat out, these people are wrong.

Sundin serve 13 years with the Leafs, being captain for his final 10 seasons. In the Toronto organization he holds most of the records, leading the franchise in such categories as goals and points all time.

Not withstanding his offensive contribution to the franchise, he also was one of the most beloved captains in team history. There are those that believe he was not a leader, and merely held the captaincy because of his skill. But he was a good captain, just ask any of the men that he played with while in Toronto.

Lets just face it, Sundin is one of the all time greatest Leafs, especially in terms of this generation of fans. Sundin will always have a place in the hearts of Maple Leaf fans (mine included), and I look forward to a few years down the road when the number 13 is raised to its rightful place in the rafters of the Air Canada Centre.

Read This Article on Bleacher Report here.

February 21, 2009 Posted by | Hockey, Sports, Toronto Maple Leafs | , , | 1 Comment

Me, a Sports Journalist? Maybe Someday…

 

So as none if you will no, because there is no one reading this (lol), I am also a writer on the sports journalism website Bleacher Report. I really pride myself in my journalism, so I figured I would share one of my recent article entitled, “Jason Blake: Three Reasons the Leafs Should Trade Him.” I am primarily a Toronto Maple Leafs analyst, so if you are a fan, I hope you enjoy:

35956_featureWith Brian Burke now officially the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, many people are beginning to wonder when the so-called “rebuilding” process will begin.

With no moves being made yet and the trade deadline quickly approaching, the big question is who will stay and who will go. In my opinion, there is one person on the team that is almost certainly on his way out of Toronto: Jason Blake.

I personally have nothing against Blake. I like his style of play and I like the skill that he brings to the Leafs, especially as of late as his play has been spectacular.

However, on this Leafs team he has no place on the roster. Here are the three reasons why Jason Blake should be traded this year.

Age

Toronto is looking to build a team around a strong base of young players, such as Luke Schenn. At 35, it is easy to see that Blake does not fit in with where this team is moving.

The Leafs should look to trade him and pick some draft picks, prospects, or even one decent young player, because, in the long run, it will benefit the team much more than Blake ever could in the present.

Money

Blake is in the second year of a five-year, $20 million contract, and it is easy to see that this cap space could be better spent on three or four young players.

Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment has always been worried about money when it comes to its hockey team, and even though Burke has complete autonomy, there will be a push from the front office for Burke to save some money where the source is available.

Jason Blake is arguably that source.

Production

Blake has been nothing if not inconsistent during his tenure with the Buds. After scoring 40 goals in his final season with the NY Islanders, Blake managed merely 15 in his first season with the Leafs.

Due to the fact that Blake was signed to give offense to a team that was lacking in that department, a 15-goal season is just not acceptable. Granted, Blake was struggling with his recent cancer diagnosis, but he still managed to play all 82 games, and for a player of Blake’s supposed caliber, 15 goals just won’t cut it.

On the flip side, Blake’s production of late has been quite excellent. Through 49 games thus far this season, Blake already has 19 goals and 40 points.

He has been the Leafs’ best player through the last 10 to 15 games, which one could argue is giving him a much better trade value than this time last year. This should be reason enough for Mr. Burke to pull the trigger and make a deal before it might be too late.

In conclusion, it is easy to see that the Leafs need to move Blake. The team needs to start looking toward the future, and although he might be good for the present, in the long run, the Leafs need youth.

At his age, Jason Blake is merely part of the past.

February 20, 2009 Posted by | Hockey, Sports, Toronto Maple Leafs | , , | Leave a comment