Sundin saga: Enough already!

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, Last Updated: 8:51 AM ET

This week on the Food Network: Host Chef Boyardeeznice takes a look at Scandinavian cooking. Celebrity guest, Ottawa Senators winger Jarkko Ruutu, whips up a batch of his favourite finger foods.

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I have nothing against Mats Sundin. Neither professionally -- I'd stitch up a No. 13 on my favourite team for him any time -- or personally.

I hear his mom whips up a nice bowl of soup.

But Mats Sundin, hockey story of 2008? To quote a goalie we all know: "Make me want to puke!"

Having grown up in Ottawa I became increasingly aware of a Toronto-centric bias that bled through the "national" media.

But -- being situated in the middle -- it paled in comparison to the bias I always felt coming via Montreal about the Canadiens. (Especially for us Orr-Espo/Bourque-Neely true-bleu Habs haters.)

As I progressed westward, living for periods in places from Thunder Bay to Winnipeg to Saskatoon through to Alberta, I began to understand the whole "centre of the universe" thing.

But in recent years I've been adamant about that being an outdated stereotype. As in, "Come on people, it's not the Toronto Sports Network anymore."

The growing networks had field reporters across the country. Half the people on the sportsdesk, it seemed, had made their bones working in Edmonton.

Or were born in Saskatchewan. Or -- as in Darren Dutchyshen -- both.

Then, last year, along came the Sundin Saga.

I can't apologize anymore.

It has been treated like the Wayne Gretzky sale. Treated like Phil Esposito being traded to the New York Rangers for Brad Park so long ago. Treated like "who will get to draft Lafleur? Lemieux? Lindros?" Treated as if Alexander Ovechkin wanted out.

It's barely even the Marian Hossa for Dany Heatley trade. Not even Hossa signing with Detroit.

Not even the Chris Pronger "My St. Louis-born wife hates frozen food" forced-trade that took him out of Edmonton to Anaheim, where Stanley Cup parades hung in the balance.

Maybe not even the Doug Gilmour for Gary Leeman bag-of-pucks trade.

Here's a point: Gilmour was just as good when he played for and won a Stanley Cup with the Calgary Flames. But, apparently, his "legend," his Hall-of-Fame-ness, his "great Canadian kid"-ness, is all about how he "could've" won a Cup for the Leafs.

Of course, faulting Mats Sundin for the general ineptitude and resulting playoffless-ness caused by the deluded Maple Leafs management is like faulting a Corvette or Mustang for the failure of the Big Three.

Like blaming Darryl Sittler and Borje Salming for Harold Ballard.

Sundin is a fine hockey player. The debate is whether he is a well-kept C-3 Vette that has one last great blast under its hood, or a bagged and paint-chipped C-4 -- a ride that, in truth, was more about past legacy than current quality.

Noted Leafs fan Mike Myers once made Wayne's World and the Austin Powers movies. He also made The Love Guru.

The Leafs of recent seasons have been what The Love Guru is to The Godfather. Myers' mess had tons of hype, some potential, but ultimately -- to go all guru-speak -- is an empty vessel. Like Hollywood ticket-sellers, Leafs owners were desperately convincing supporters they better sign up now for front-row seats for the can't-miss Academy Awards.

The real hockey story here: Is Sundin an aged, above-average star who can give a big edge to a hopeful team wallowing in a sea of hopeful, mediocre teams? Or just the third Sedin Sister?

Interesting enough for fans, sure.

Just spare us the hourly updates.


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