If the Leafs make the playoffs, Sundin deserves the Hart Trophy
The Toronto Maple Leafs, in all likelyhood, will not make the Stanley Cup playoffs this year, sorry Leaf fans, last nights slaughtering of the Ottawa Senators was more proof that the Sens are over rated, then the Leafs being under rated. The Leafs are a team with their top goal scorers being Darcy Tucker, and Chad Kilger, (other then Sundin of course) who are both second liners, at best, and it has become painfully obvious, that whether he is the leagues outstanding player or not, a Leafs playoff appearance will mean a Hart trophy performance from Mats Sundin.The last time I saw a player as valuable to his team as Sundin is, was Mario Lemieux. I’m not saying Sundin is anywhere near as good a player, or captain then Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, or the rest, but Mats Sundin is the only thing holding his team together, at least the others were given a supporting cast, Mats Sundin IS the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Some players need the attention, Eric Lindros needs to be a first line player, or else he won’t perform. The first year he wasn’t the biggest thing on the team (New York, 2003) he had a terrible year, and once he was thrust into the role Sundin filled at the beginning of last year, Lindros performed. Last year the Leafs had someone like Lindros to fall back on, but now, with Mats Sundin, thankfully being that type of player, that thrives in the spotlight, will have no one to fall back on, as he attempts to lead this team to a playoff spot, something that alone will be ridiculously difficult, let alone winning the teams first Stanley Cup in 40 years.
So now we look at the Leafs team, and other then the captain, the top scorers are supposed to be Tucker, Kilger, Ponikarovsky, Wellwood, and Steen? Hardly a playoff top six, and if the team makes the playoffs, not only will need an MVP performance from the Captain, but even if they don’t see it, and make the playoffs, Mats Sundin will still be deserving of it, because no player in the National Hockey League means more to his teams success then Mats Sundin does. Thornton, best player in the league, but he’s got Cheechoo, and Marleau, and Hannan, and Toskala. Jagr has Shanahan, Rucinsky, and Straka, Lidstrom has Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Chelios. Pronger and Niedermayer have eachother, plus Teemu Selanne, Crosby has Recchi, Leclair, Gonchar, Fleury, and Malkin, Ovechkin has no one, but, well, that team isn’t going to succeed… who does Mats Sundin have? Darcy Tucker….
It may sound repetitive, but if the Toronto Maple Leafs are to be a playoff calibre team, they need a Stanley Cup calibre captain.