Friday, December 19, 2008

Summer of Sundin Finally Ends December 18th [UPDATED]. . .

Wow. Umm, so Mats Sundin is not going to play in New York this year. At all this year.

I guess it's about time there was an answer. Any answer.

The "Summer of Sundin" and all it's deadlines, quickly gave way from July 1st, to sometime in August, and before anyone could have expected it, 3 months of the season have been played, and everyone was then hearing deadlines of December 1st, December 15th, Christmas, after Christmas.

I think so many people were just sick of hearing about it. I obviously haven't written much about it (except my angry mention of it in tangent the other day earlier this week), since before the season started.

Am I happy or unhappy with Mats inevitable decison to play for Vancouver instead of New York?

Actually neither.

What I am is shocked.

A friend of mine got a text from her friend and told me the news last night. I was like, what? It actually was hard to believe. It almost still is. Almost six months of what if, and in what seems like a second, we have our answer.

I guess only Mats himself can know what was in his head and how much it was a 2-team race, or whatnot. But I can only go on what I know, which is very little and mostly hearsay, probably.

I was of the opinion that he was going to Montreal, back this summer. When summer faded, Montreal signed Robert Lang, and said, we're done, I still thought there would maybe be an outside chance.

I thought, like so many others, that if it were truly the money that mattered, he'd have been in Vancouver to start the season.

Perhaps none of it really mattered as much as his not being sure. And really needing extra time to figure it out. Not anyone's favorite thing, because a player like Mats held up a lot of other plans for a lot of teams, but it is his right and I can't fault him for that.

Perhaps after all of this time, the bad travel schedule for the Canucks didn't seem so bad to him if it was only going to be for half a season. I mean, yeah, I'm sure the money didn't hurt either. But the timing is funny.

Perhaps he saw part of the Trevor Linden ceremony and said, these guys can use a leader more than New York can and thought he could fit in there better. Maybe Mattias Ohlund, Alexander Edler, and the Sedin twins were more appealing than Markus Naslund, Hank, and Freddy Sjostrom were.

Perhaps it really was just the fact that the Rangers realized they needed to shed more than just a player or two, and were not prepared to do so at all, or certainly so quickly. And once Mats said, I want to play, he wanted to play as soon as possible.

Perhaps, we'll never truly know. There are just too many eventualities.

So to recap, I am not disappointed. I bare no ill will. I rather enjoy Vancouver and think they are a good organization. I hope Mats and the team have a better season than I thought they would, as remember, I picked them to miss the playoffs this year.

But let's face it, Rangers fans, Vancouver will have nothing directly to do with us unless there is a very, very, very unlikely repeat of the teams in the 1994 Finals. So live, let live, and let's all move on as best as we can.

And I say, as best as we can, because surely, a lot of Rangers players - those that play, like Rozsival, Kalinin, and perhaps even Gomez, and those that don't, like Prucha and Fritsche, surely wondered if they'd be around to spend Christmas in New York. As it stands, they will. For how long? I'm not sure.

I guess the only part of me that sees this as bittersweet is the part that thought, gee, Mats Sundin on Broadway, how cool would that be. Cool because I have always liked the guy, the way he played, the way he skated, and the leader he was in Toronto through good and bad times.

And Mats coming to New York would have been satisfying only more so in that it would finally answer some questions for the players on this team. Make the perhaps needed shakeup. Get guys like Prucha or Fritsche - who I still contend can be full time players on other teams in this league - out of New York so that they can do what they love to do, which is play hockey. [Even if #25's departure would cause me to burst into tears, which I won't try to deny].

Instead, they stand pat. Two surprising wins into their 3 game West Coast swing [where I was betting they'd maybe win one], and going into San Jose tomorrow night, where the Sharks will be coming off a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Detroit. I'll be curious. Tomorrow. Next week. For the next little while. On a given night, what team shows up? And even if they do show up, will they be exciting enough to watch...?

Anyway. Mats, good luck in Vancouver. Seriously, there are no hard feelings, at least not from this fan. Just a lot of questions, a lot of questions with perhaps no chance of ever being answered.

**Update Dec 20th, 11:31 am:

Great line by Larry Brooks in yesterday's NY Post online. And what I've been saying - not necessarily in regards to Mats Sundin but the team in general - all year long:

"Let's face it, though. The Rangers didn't lose Sundin yesterday. They lost Sundin on July 1 when Sather had perhaps the worst day on the market since people were jumping out of windows on Black Friday of Oct. 25, 1929."

This team is handicapped not only for this year, but perhaps for as many as 3-4 more. For those of you that wanted or like Gomez, Drury (2007's blunders), Redden, Rozsival, and Kalinin (2008's crop of the overpaid) on this team, you have to take a deep long look and realize those moves - one, two, or all of them - will hurt the Rangers in the end.

If they haven't already.**

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