This isn't a post about the famous Walt Whitman poem, but rather a post about Mats Sundin.
I was very excited upon hearing the news Mats Sundin would be at the game last night, and even more so excited when Mats received a long standing ovation from the ACC crowd. The excitement culminated at the announcement that Sundin's #13 would be raised to the rafters of the ACC on February 11 against the Montreal Canadiens. I right away went online and purchased tickets to the game. With Sundin playing for the Leafs for 13 years and serving as captain for 10 of them, it had to be done.
It was under very unfortunate circumstances that Mats Sundin exited Toronto chastised, abhorred, and depreciated by many. Aging and close to the end of his career, fans clamored for him to leave via trade. The thinking was well hey, why not get something for him before his contract is up or he retires? I couldn't be more appalled at the lack of respect for our long-time captain. I was in the minority being such a staunch defender of Sundin during his last 2 seasons here that must have been a nightmare. After playing his heart out and being a tremendous captain for so long he was chewed out by the same fans that loved him for so many years. Those now begged him to leave for no good reason. It was not because his stellar play had declined, not because he grew unpopular with the room, but because fans wanted measly compensation for him before he left. I imagine it must have ripped out a part of him inside. A huge shame.
Thankfully, there were no hard feelings between the two parties. Sundin returned to the ACC as a Canuck and received a hero's welcome. The same fans who loved him, then hated him, now loved him once again. When Mats returned for the 2nd time last night, he received another huge ovation. That's the way it should be, and that's the way it will be on February 11 when Sundin's #13 gets raised to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre. I can't hardly wait to salute My Captain.