Lost in transmission

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:35 AM ET

So Leafs fans, how do you like Mats Sundin now?

Barely in shape, apparently less than 100% committed, Sundin has landed in Vancouver and has laid an egg the size of Stockholm.

In eight games with the Canucks, Mediocre Mats has two goals and an assist and is a minus-5. With Sundin in the lineup, the free-falling Canucks are 1-5-2 and have dropped to 10th in the Western Conference.

Fans in the Tofu City already are beginning to sour on the former Leafs captain, partly because the Canucks have gone south since Sundin decided to go west, and also because he's not in great shape and apparently is not in a big hurry to get into shape, having spent the all-star breaking in Whistler, NOT working out on the ice.

The Leafs aren't expected to win this season, or even make the playoffs, so Sundin's presence in Toronto basically would have been a moot point, unless you're a fan of a guy taking lazy penalties late in games. But the Canucks were expecting Sundin give them a big lift, right into the late rounds of the playoffs.

Could you imagine if general manager Brian Burke had signed Sundin for sentimental reasons, as former GM Cliff Fletcher previously suggested they would? Ron Wilson's head would have exploded by now.

Wilson, or Napoleon, as he affectionately is known by the loud guy in the loud suit, isn't a big fan of players lollygagging.

(And by the way, I hope Don Cherry, to be fair, rips Brad May the way he ripped Andre Deveaux last month for backing down from a fight. May wouldn't dance with Wild behemoth Derek Boogaard on Tuesday night, which is fine, given that Boogaard is huge. But May is supposed to be a tough guy and isn't that why the Leafs traded for him? The betting here is Cherry lets May off the hook because May is one of those "great guys," apparently unique to hockey).

FIGHTING WORDS

Anyway, Wilson isn't a big fan of a lot of things, including the media. Which is odd, because he gives a good quote. And he's not a big fan of so-called fans who want fighting banned in the wake of the Don Sanderson tragedy. Wilson almost choked a couple of weeks ago when asked if he believed that fighting is letting the game down, as many have suggested it is.

Wilson believes that hockey is a unique sport and fighting is a part of the game.

He doesn't believe fighting has let the sport down.

If anything has let hockey down, at least at the NHL level, it's television.

Tiger Woods was dead-on when he said television doesn't do hockey justice and that while he loves the sport, he doesn't like watching it on TV. To those who actually watch the sport (and not those who pretend to watch but are quick to want to change the game, like banish fighting), NHL hockey is in a good place.

The problem isn't the game, it's the presentation of the game, specifically, the inability of the television gurus to figure out a way to translate the speed, power and finesse of the sport on to the tube. High definition helps, but the basic problems remain -- the failure to translate what you see live, on to television.

BAD ANGLES

One of the problems, in my opinion (which is shared by others) is the low camera angles -- and most Leafs presentations are guilty of this. The low camera angles appear to make the ice surface seem much smaller than it actually is, particularly the width of the ice.

Watching an NHL game live, you can't help but be impressed with those long, cross-ice passes from one winger to another while they're skating at full speed. But with the low TV angles, it looks as if the passer and the passee are five feet away and it is not dramatic.

Same for those end cameras on power plays. Sure it's great when a player hits another right in front of an end camera, but when the cameras aren't positioned higher up, you lose the depth of field.

I love watching games from Madison Square Garden, because the main camera is mounted higher up and apparently closer to the ice, making the rink seem a lot bigger than the lower angles.

You would think in this era of unmanned cameras, they could figure out a way to mount a camera closer to the ice surface, but high enough to give viewers a sense of the width of the ice.

Fans of hockey should be debating how TV is hurting the game. Not fighting.


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