With big No. 13 making his Vancouver debut Wednesday, Canucks Nation is probably besieged today with tales of all things Mats. And it’s pretty tough to compete with all those perspectives, especially from my chair a couple thousand miles away.
However, given Sundin spent the past 13 seasons here in Toronto, here are 13 ways that No. 13 will contribute to the Canucks in the second half:
1. Action, not words
Sundin was a standup captain for a decade in Toronto and always led with his play on the ice.
2. Team player
For all of his all-world skill, Sundin always put the plight of the Leafs above his personal goals.
3. Stanley Cup void
The fact Sundin has never made it to the Cup final means the Canucks get an aging superstar with just one thing lacking on his resume.
4. Still hungry
The fact he came back at all means he still wants to play at the highest level.
5. Still skilled
Sundin’s past couple seasons in Toronto confirmed that, despite his advancing age, he still has the chops to play with the best.
6. Complete, consistent
Once he gets his legs, Canucks fans can count on a solid effort every night.
Well, no pro athlete is without an ego, but Sundin checks his at the door. There’s not going to be any Pavel Bure-like off-ice drama with Mats.
8. Team Sweden
The Swedish star liked the fact that countrymen Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Mattias Ohlund and Alexander Edler play key minutes.
He can play shorthanded, power play and even strength. Plus, he skated with a variety of linemates in Toronto.
10. Well rested
Taking the first half of the season off will do that for a guy.
11. Clutch scorer
Sundin scores goals at the same clip in the playoffs, when tallies are harder to come by, as in the regular season. And he holds a share of the all-time regular season OT goal-scoring record with 15 (Patrik Elias, Jaromir Jagr).
12. Faceoff artist
Sundin has won more than 55 per cent of faceoffs over his career; anything over 50 per cent is pretty good. (Rod Brind’Amour, traditionally the NHL’s best faceoff man, has a career mark of about 58 per cent.)
13. No. 1 hope
Since 1989 — Sundin’s draft year — through 2007, only one No. 1 overall pick has won the Stanley Cup (Vincent Lecavalier, the top pick in 1998, won the Cup with Tampa in 2004.) Join the exclusive club, Mats.
This column also appears in the Vancouver Metro newspaper.
Sam McCaig’s From The Point column appears regularly only on thehockeynews.com. Have a point to make with Sam McCaig? You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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