What a great night. Everyone who we've been covering in the Stamkos Standings won last night, except for the best of them all: Toronto. We're four points out of last. We can win two straight games and probably still be in the bottom five. We're in second place and have a three point cushion between us and fourth. This is absolutely wonderful. The Kings look more reachable this morning than they ever have.
1. LAK 59 GP, 24 W, 51 PTS, -27 DIFF
2. TOR 59 GP, 23 W, 55 PTS, -29 DIFF
3. TBL 58 GP, 25 W, 56 PTS, -21 DIFF
4. FLA 59 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS, -9 DIFF
5. CHI 57 GP, 26 W, 58 PTS, EV DIFF
6. NYI 58 GP, 26 W, 59 PTS, -28 DIFF
7. EDM 59 GP, 27 W, 59 PTS, -16 DIFF
8. ATL 59 GP, 28 W, 60 PTS, -28 DIFF
9. WSH 58 GP, 27 W, 60 PTS, -13 DIFF
10. STL 56 GP, 26 W, 60 PTS, -14 DIFF
11. CLB 59 GP, 26 W, 61 PTS, -12 DIFF
12. PHO 58 GP, 29 W, 62 PTS, -1 DIFF
13. NYR 59 GP, 28 W, 63 PTS, -3 DIFF
The only addition is Washington (courtesy of another Carolina win), and while there are some key developments, like a reshuffling of the top five and just regular position jockeying, none of it is nearly as important to us as moving into second.
I was so excited this morning when I woke up. Sure, my neck hurt like hell for some reason, and I barely got any sleep, and my cat had left me a Valentine's shit on my couch, but we were in second place. My hand STILL stings from high-fiving everyone in sight. And then I hit Kukla's Korner to see what was going on in the NHL today, and I saw a Steve "Fuckdick" Simmons article up there. I used to like Simmons, be it from the back pages of those Hometown Hockey magazines they'd send everyone who had been registered for minor hockey in Ontario, or from his Toronto Sun columns that were always had a fun format and didn't take any real thought to them.
Little did I know how little thought.
Ordinarily I'd wait for Cox Bloc to handle it, as I don't do press criticism anywhere near as well as those guys (or the masters at Fire Joe Morgan, for that matter), but I'm sorry, but he ruined my fucking day and now I'm pissed off. Very pissed off. Fuckdick's 'thoughts' will be in what passes for bold here, so if you find it hard to read, well, I'll be the one saying 'fuck' every other word.
Mats holds key to Leafs' future
If Mats Sundin is to be taken at his word, that he truly bleeds blue and white, then in the best interests of the Maple Leafs he must act accordingly.
I whole-heartedly agree. He should invent a time machine, go back to 2003, name himself GM of the Maple Leafs (while still playing, mind you), pass on the Owen Nolan trade, re-sign Brian Leetch for cheap coming out of the lockout, trade Bryan McCabe and Alex Steen to Edmonton for Chris Pronger, keep Tuuka Rask over Justin Pogge, re-sign Ed Belfour on a cheap one year deal instead of bringing in Raycroft, pass on Jason Blake, not assume that a bunch of young, homegrown defensemen will actually form a good defensive core, not sign like 30 of the same Chad Kilger-type player, um, let's see, what else... basically just pretend John Ferguson never touched the team. That's what he must do. But I bet that's not what you're about to suggest, is it, Fuckdick?
He must waive the no-trade clause in his contract and allow Cliff Fletcher to trade him at the Feb. 26 deadline.
Didn't think so.
Look, I know that sportswriters are... dumb. I know you guys can't come up with any new angles on your own and play the same story over and over and over again until the new one comes along. But: seriously? Trading Sundin is the literal definition of a quick fix. We've all been over how we don't need a quick fix.
That way, he can impact the next decade of the Leafs, just as he impacted the past decade.
This is a lie. Look at the best possible trade any of us can think for involving Sundin that might actually happen - Bobby Ryan and Edmonton's first pick. Bobby Ryan will never be a Mats Sundin. The draft pick will likely yield a defenseman and will likely never come close to the impact Sundin has had on this franchise. If someone was dangling the next Mats Sundin in exchange for 1971's Mats Sundin, maybe you'd have an argument here. But they aren't, and you don't.
That way, he can enable the Leafs to build for next season and beyond
Smart management would do this. Clearing off some of the more than $40 million already committed to next year's cap would do this. Trading Sundin for, at best, a draft pick who won't make an impact next year and a future top six forward (but more realistically a less significant return than that)? Not so much.
Why does everyone lock onto Sundin and think he is the only thing that should be changed from this losing equation? The Leafs have made the playoffs with Mats Sundin. They have not made the playoffs with Andrew Raycroft, or Jason Blake, or Pavel Kubina, or Hal Gill, or Ian White. They won't make the playoffs as long as they have nearly $9 million of the salary cap tied up in Bryan "Fucking" McCabe and Darcy "Shayne Corson" Tucker. These are the problems you target. Why the fuck do you target the ONE player who is actually a positive for the franchise? Stupid writing, that's why.
if he chooses to return as a free agent in July, then he returns to a team that has a Steven Stamkos or a Drew Doughty, a team with fresher, younger legs, a team he can resume his captaincy and leadership of, while surrounded with a better cast and crew.
We might very well end up with a Stamkos or a Doughty. Finishing last in the Eastern Conference would be a pretty good place to start if we want one of those two. So yeah, you've convinced me, Fuckdick, we need to trade Sundin so we can finish lower in the standings. I'm sorry, what's that? We're already in last in the East? Oh. So we're on track to get Stamkos/Doughty/whomever with or without Sundin? But I don't understand, Fuckdick, you were so adamant that we need to trade Mats in order to get one of those two. How can this be?
Not to mention: the team's legs will be 'fresher' at the start of next seasons regardless and the team won't be any younger or better if the other players on the team, you know, the non-Sundin ones who actually NEED to be traded but we don't hear about in the papers because everyone writing for a newspaper is fucking retarded, get moved.
He must allow the Leafs to do what they haven't been able to do since the lockout ended -- and that is compete in the top half, not the bottom half, of the National Hockey League.
This would be a good argument is Sundin was preventing the team from being in the top half of the league. As opposed to trading the top goalie prospect in the league for Andrew Raycroft. Or giving $9 million to Tucker and McCabe. Or giving $4 million to Jason Blake. Or $2.5 million to Mark Bell. Or letting Andy Wozniewski play ever. But that is not the case; it is those players who are preventing Toronto from being a better team, and Sundin is the only reason any of us even bother watching the games. Sundin is to this team what Curtis Joseph was in 1999, or Dominik Hasek was to the Buffalo Sabres of the late-90s: a player who can win a game by himself.
Look at the Detroit game last week. The second goal went in the net because Sundin decided that he was going to score a fucking goal. But no, you're right, Fuckdick, the only way to improve is to trade that. Who the FUCK wants a game changer on your team? Not this guy.
Sundin can bring that kind of price, make that kind of difference. No one else on the roster else can, especially no one with an expiring contract.
Bobby Ryan and an 18-year-old defenseman is not going to get Toronto into the top half of the league next year. If anyone is, it will be Mats Sundin. As for the second sentence, well no shit. But that doesn't mean you don't try to move them anyway. Build a fucking team instead of trying to get a quick fix. But that's no fun to write about, is it, Fuckdick?
Sundin is a perfect fit for a San Jose team that plays the down low game he has come to specialize in -- and it has no shortage of admirable prospects.
More things San Jose has no shortage of: expensive, top-flight centers. Sundin is not waiving his contractual right to stay put to go play the wing or the third line somewhere. If we want to dangle someone to San Jose, why not McCabe? They need another defenseman.
Recently, I asked two of Sundin's closest friends whether they believed Sundin would waive his no-trade clause. One said yes. One said no. Neither seemed certain they had the right answer.
So what you're saying is: he might waive his no-trade clause, or he might not. Thank you for clearing that up.
Oh, and nice name drop. Fuckdick knows some of Sundin's closest friends. He's BIG TIME~!
With Sundin, answers are always a bit of a mystery.
No! No they are not! He has been saying FOR YEARS that he does not want to play for another NHL franchise, that he wants to stay in Toronto and retire here. FOR YEARS. WHAT THE FUCK. Answers have never been a mystery with Mats Sundin. You fucking newspaper idiots write things like this because you aren't getting the answer you want out of him. That is an entirely fucking different thing. This is literally the equivalent of everyone asking Sundin what colour the sky is, and even though he keeps saying 'blue', a bunch of idiots with a journalism degree and a public forum want him to say 'red', so they write that no one can get a straight answer from him. Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you.
Sundin has never been made like other NHL players. He isn't Ray Bourque or Lanny McDonald nearing the finish line, thinking ring. Sundin won his gold medal, captaining Sweden, at the 2006 Winter Olympics. That was his Stanley Cup. That was the dream of his youth. His smile lit up the sky that night in Turin. That was as good as it gets.
YES. THANK YOU. European players tend to value the Olympics and World Championship higher than the Stanley Cup because it is a bigger deal there. Do you think that Sundin doesn't want to win a Stanley Cup? Of course it does, it's the one thing he hasn't done yet. But I doubt he's losing much sleep over it. He's had a hell of a career, accomplished just about everything you could ever ask for, and won the two most significant championships to him. You clearly are able to grasp this here, but you seem to want to condemn him for it. A couple of paragraphs earlier, Fuckdick rips him for being 'not terribly frustrated' that the team doesn't make the playoffs anymore. What the fuck?
First, it's clear by just watching and listening to Sundin that yes, he is frustrated by it, but he, as a mature individual who understands the nature of pro sport, realizes he can't do it by himself and that the cast that surrounds him has as much to do with making the playoffs as he does. You, as an immature joke of a sportswriter, do not. That is not a slight on Mats Sundin. That is a slight on YOU. Second, you also brought up that he's not the only one on the team like that. WHY THE FUCK AREN'T YOU CRUCIFYING THEM, THEN?
Fletcher's job is reaching crunch time. He has two weeks to accomplish two difficult goals. One is to strengthen the Leafs roster with younger players, draft picks or prospects. Two is to somehow reduce the $40-million-plus US the Leafs have tied up in salaries for next season. Reaching either place will be challenging, to say the least.
Yes. This is correct. The Maple Leafs will have a high draft choice this year, so that really helps for the first part, as would selling off a bunch of the other junk laying around. The second part is helped by selling off the other junk, because they are the ones tied to expensive, long-term deals. Sundin, an unrestricted free agent, cannot help free up cap space for next season at the moment because he does not go towards the cap. So the entire article was pretty much pointless. But hey, in the end, Fuckdick realized that the problems facing this team going into the future are not related to Mats Sundin. This is the guy that suggested Kevin Lowe would be a good choice for GM of the Leafs (because he somehow has a better track record than Ferguson for giving big contracts to not-very-good defenseman or third line forwards or players who scored a bunch of goals the year prior...), so that's saying a lot. I'm proud of Steve.
This is how Mats Sundin can help build the Leafs for the future. If he's about the Leafs -- and not necessarily about himself.
Kiss my ass, Simmons.