Sundin protects coach

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

OTTAWA -- Mats Sundin thinks questions regarding the woeful state of club are fair.

"Absolutely," the Maple Leafs captain said. "We all have to be questioned when we are not winning games. We are in the winning business and we are professional athletes."

But even though the Leafs are riding a five-game losing streak, the longest under coach Pat Quinn, Sundin does not believe blame should be placed at Quinn's feet.

"We are far from blaming the coach or anyone else," Sundin said. "The coaches can only do so much. They have a good system in place for us. Right now, we have problems that have nothing to do with a system. It's more guys executing simple tasks we are supposed to do on the ice.

"It's up to the guys in the room who are going to have to turn this thing around."

Though Sundin is averaging less than a point a game (he has 10 goals and 20 assists in 35 games), Quinn is frustrated that Sundin has been publicly slagged in Toronto.

"There is no white knight," Quinn said. "He never has been, but he has been a great leader and he is that right now. It is amazing that all of a sudden you are putting him in the where-the-hell-is-he category after losing (five) games."


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