Setting the record straight – Sundin vs. Alfredsson
Over the last few years, I have heard many Leaf and non-Leaf fans criticize Mats Sundin as a captain of the Leafs. At the same time, I have debated with many people who felt that Alfredsson was a good or even GREAT captain for the Senators.
Breaking down the numbers and intangibles paints a pretty decisive picture of who is the better captain.
Regular 1156 games, 1167 points – (1.01)
Playoffs 83 games, 74 points – (.892)
Overtime Goals – 14 (NHL record)
Game Winning Goals – 68 (since Alfredsson has been in league)
Game Tieing Goals – 7 (since Alfredsson has been in league)
Regular 706 games, 671 points – (.950)
playoffs 79 games, 58 points – (.734)
Overtime Goals ?
Game Winning Goals 42
Game Tieing Goals – 7
Playoffs head to head as captains: Sundin 4, Alfredsson 0
Conference finals Sundin 2, Alfredsson 1
Mats Sundin is the ONLY player in the NHL to have at least 70 points in each of the last 13 full seasons!
Mats Sundin has played most of his career surrounded by what is, without question, the biggest media circus in hockey. He has never had a front line winger, excepting perhaps Mogilny, for a brief period of time, when Mogilny was well past his prime. He never played on a team that people (outside of rabid Leafs fans) seriously though had a shot at the cup. He has consistently behaved with class, with one very minor exception, a brain fart when he tossed his stick into the stands. In this environment, under constant scrutinty and criticism, without much to work with, his numbers, history, clutch play and demeanour are beyond reproach.
Alfredsson, has played on at least 2 teams that were favored to win the cup, possibly more; losing in disappointing fashion to the Leafs and now the Sabres. He has been surrounded by an all-star supporting cast including, at varous times, Spezza, Heatley, Hossa, Havlat, Bondra and Yashin (when he didn’t suck) and arguably the best D-duo in the league in Chara and Redden the last few years.
This year Alfredsson cleaned up his act. He cut the stupid hair and attempted to put show a more grown up demeanour and lead by example on the ice. I give him credit for that. There are a couple examples of VERY poor leadership in his past however. A guaranteed win? Showing up his friend, captain and countryman, in front of Sundin’s hometown fans, after the above stupid incident, by mocking a stick throw into the stands, after he had broken a stick when Ottawa had was pasting the Leafs 7-1… Who knows how much motivation that contributed to the Leafs beating the Senators AGAIN in the playoffs that year? There is a reason why most pro-athletes pay RESPECT to their opponents and don’t give them more motivation than necessary. My favorite (least) of Alfredsson’s moments came when the Senators lost a Game-6 to the Leafs in the playoffs and Alfredsson blamed the loss, and the series, on Domi “diving” and cutting his head open on purpose?! Later on he blamed it on the fact that Domi can’t skate and that is why the check from behind cut him… he conveniently forgot that the game prior the Sens scored on a 5-minute major when a Sens player cut himself open on a similar hit?!
So, someone, PLEASE tell me why I have heard from so many people here about how great of a captain Alfredsson is and yet I have also heard from both Leafs and non-Leafs fans how much of a miserable failure as a captain Sundin is?
There is not ONE stat, or intangible arguement that favors Alfredsson. He has not performed as well, or led as well, with a much more friendly environment and a better supporting cast his entire career.
Mats Sundin deserved FAR better that he has received over the years from the Leafs fans and media. My only hope at this point is that he is traded or he finishes his career elsewhere with a team that has a chance to win a cup!