TORONTO -- In retrospect, it doesn't seem like any coincidence. That during Gary Roberts' four seasons in Toronto, the Maple Leafs played in 51 playoff games.
Since he left, even though he didn't want to, the Leafs have played in none.
The departure of Roberts, and his emergence once again in the post-season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, raises questions about the leadership abilities of Leafs captain Mats Sundin.
Sundin was captain during Roberts' stint in Toronto -- although some referred to Roberts as the captain without a 'C' -- but had deep support around him during the most successful seasons.
While Roberts was able to elevate his game and elevate others around him at the same time while with the Leafs, Sundin has managed to elevate only his own game, having little tangible impact on the play of his teammates.
The fire you witness now, even in a 41-year-old Roberts, is the kind of fire Leafs teams have been missing since his negotiation was mangled by the previous Toronto general manager. The kind of leadership that is never easily replaced.
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