Why did you leave me? You are the reason I love hockey. You are the only hockey player that I vividly remember watching (Dougie and Wendel are faint memories for me) that loved the Leafs as much as I do.
And then you pulled a Brett Favre.
Remember this, your 500th goal in the NHL? It was a hattrick goal, an OT winner, basically as big a goal as you can get outside the playoffs. That sure was a great time, you were so happy, we were so happy… but when it came time to part ways, it was oh so painful. I understand that you didn’t want to lace them up quite yet, that you felt you still had it in you to get one last push at the cup. I’m sorry that you couldn’t fit into the Leafs last year – I think we all had to realize that it was time to part ways. And I am very thankful that you didn’t go sign with the Habs, or Rangers, or some other original 6 team that I hate so much. But the Canucks? Really?
We still loved you, and by the tears in your eyes that night, we know you still loved us. I just wish you hadn’t had to try to go for one more year, and play for a team that let you down so badly. I watched that games 6, I saw you take over and score twice, the second one eerily like your 500th goal. I saw how badly you wanted to get to the Western Conference Final, and make it to the Cup. But, Mats, you chose the Canucks. They choke every time. Everyone else on that team let you down when it mattered most. Don’t you see how much better it would have been for you to have just retired in a Leafs uniform?
Well, Mats. Now you’ve retired, gotten married, and it seems you hunt/fish and play poker in your spare time. I’m glad you’re happy. I miss you though. Every night I see Matt Stajan on the ice as our #1 center, every night the Leafs play and there is no player with the C on his chest, every time we go to OT and I realize we don’t have Captain Clutch there to win it for us anymore, I miss you. But thanks for the good times, and thanks for making me love hockey so much.