When Sundin hit Blake by the bench I am pretty sure he told him that if he had played this well last year Mats would still be a Leaf.
Well, who knew that the build up after so many months would culminate in an ending that was perhaps as painful as possible. VIgneault tried to really screw with us by having the Queen of Quiches take a penalty shot but luckily his shot personified his career: slowest speed possible and a half-assed shot. Then the man himself skated to centre ice with everyone but Toskala knowing where he was going. And just like that our hero had his familiar wide grin celebrating our team's loss.
The most poignant moment came when, during a commercial break, the fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs put aside any possible hurt feelings and showed Mats that he'll always be our Captain.
A move so classy that even Jim Hughson wasn't able to say that a Vancouver crowd would have handled it better and really it was nothing less than should have been expected. I guess all of those jerks in The Star comments sections can go jump off a cliff.
As much as I and others still ache at the way things played out I know that, personally, I can't watch any highlights of the big lug without remembering why I spent 13 years defending him against all manners of slings and arrows. In retrospect, it's actually funny that people were so worried about the fans' reaction. There would always be a huge contingent of Canucks fans that would clap along happily and that critical mass would get the rest going. It reminds me of the big worries about Manchester City fans ruining the 50th anniversary remembrance of Manchester United's Munich Air Disaster. Of course, there was no problem whatsoever because in the moment all of the problems you have tend to wash away.
Of course, I wouldn't have minded Mats looking distraught at scoring the winner in the same way that Denis Law did after he relegated his former club:
I much prefer the quiet approach to the revelatory exuberance of a jerk like Frank Lampard that kisses his new badge and rubs it in the face of West Ham supporters every time he pots one against them.
As for the game, the Leafs rose to the occassion in my mind. They certainly played like a team that knew how important this game was to their fans. It was a shame that they were not rewarded with two points. It was definitely a different outcome to a big game than the most recent ones.
So we're free of Mats Sundin...for now...so we can stop discussing him ad nauseum. Like the fans did during the game he'll get treated as an opposing player. If you want to follow him then Nucks Misconduct is your source for all Sundin-related information.