Mats Sundin always said he loved playing in Toronto.
Looking back, maybe he loved it too much.
Prior to having his No. 13 honored on Saturday, the all-time leading scorer in Maple Leafs history addressed the criticisms he faced at the tail end of his career, when he refused to waive his no-trade clause for what many thought would be a key part of Toronto’s rebuilding process.
“My strength and maybe my weakness is that I’m a loyal guy,” Sundin said Friday. “I felt that you spend so much time in an organization and in Toronto, I always saw myself winning the Stanley Cup in Toronto.
“I wanted to do that and also [realized] it would never feel the same doing it somewhere else.”
Sundin did try it somewhere else — suiting up for 41 games for Vancouver in 2008-09 — but didn’t look or feel comfortable playing with anything other than a maple leaf on his chest.
“When you’re 22 or 23, it’s about winning the championship,” he said. “As you grow older you enjoy the journey, the travel and the grind of getting together a group of guys in the fall and build up to a goal in the spring. (That) was the thing that was great, the long-term commitment.”
Sundin will join the likes of Doug Gilmour (No. 93), Wendel Clark (No. 17) and fellow Swede Borje Salming (No. 21) as Leafs that have had their numbers honored by the club.
Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points
If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to make up some serious ground and overtake the Minnesota Wild for the Central Division title, they’ll need wins like these.
It’s only fitting that “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews did the heavy lifting, generating a hat trick and two assists as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-3 on Tuesday.
Yes, Toews was involved in every goal. And yes, the Blackhawks won this one in regulation after beating the Wild in overtime last time around. It’s a nice swing for Chicago:
Central Division title chase
1. Wild – 84 points in 59 games (39 wins, 36 ROW)
2. Blackhawks – 79 points in 60 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)
Yeah, that’s still a substantial edge for Minnesota … but this is a significant swing.
Even beyond the name recognition that comes with Toews & Co., the Blackhawks’ push shouldn’t be surprising. They’re red-hot in February so far, going 7-1-0 despite playing seven of eight on the road (strangely losing that lone home contest).
The Wild have played reasonably well in their own right, yet this loss sends them into a bye week with some frustration … and maybe some questions about whether they can hold the Blackhawks off.
Price didn’t just play for Habs; he made the difference vs. Rangers
It’s one thing for Carey Price to shake off that Paul Byron shot in warm-ups. And, honestly, that bump from Shea Weber during the game. But to play like, well, Carey Price? That would be something else.
Well, you probably saw this one coming … but Price had some absolutely great moments against the New York Rangers in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
He was the main difference-maker, although it must be said that there’s some comic relief in Byron scoring the shootout-winner.
Price vs. Rick Nash felt like a subplot of the overall story.
On one occasion, Price made a resounding stop on a Nash breakaway:
It was quite the night for the aging power forward, however, as he nailed his other opportunity.
Some might be a little sad that Nash vs. Price didn’t go against each other in the shootout, but hey, maybe the two teams could save that for next time?
The Canadiens needed this win more than the Rangers. The Ottawa Senators actually briefly went ahead for first place in the Atlantic Division, but now Montreal has 72 points to Ottawa’s 70 … while the Sens hold two games in hand.
This tweet might only live for a few minutes, but the Ottawa Senators are in first place in the Atlantic Division.
It’s been a nice milestone night for young Jets scorers, as Nikolaj Ehlers also scored his 20th goal of 2016-17.
That 30th goal came less than 30 seconds after Leo Komarov‘s second goal of the contest, putting Winnipeg up 4-3 heading into the third period. For all we know, the Jets might need even more from Laine tonight.
No helmet, no stick, no problem as Preds’ Watson blocks shot anyway
Sometimes, when you ponder a player who opts not to wear a visor, you wonder if that person cares about their health. Then you remember that it takes a certain mixture of bravery and recklessness to be a professional hockey player in the first place.
Even so, there are moments that stand out as especially “hockey tough” – and, yes, reckless – with Austin Watson of the Nashville Predators fitting both labels well on Tuesday.
It’s already brave and dangerous to block a shot with your full gear, but Watson did so without his stick and without his helmet against the Calgary Flames. Luckily, the shot didn’t hit him up high … but dude.