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Leaf droppings
Sundin isn't the answer
1/18/08 - By Ken Smyth

Before the Toronto game last Saturday a Leaf-y fan sitting near us said that the Patrick Marleau for Mats Sundin trade was going down this week. I reminded him Sundin is already traded to twenty other teams since last June by the Toronto media. Even with a superstar salary, all those apartment deposits are a stretch.

By the end of the first period I was hoping that the trade could be made right then and there, but the Sharks won and all was forgiven. Which brings up the question- emotion aside, why make trades like this at all?

Both the Sharks and the Maple Leafs need a shake-up but for different reasons. Toronto is an awful team in a demanding town; they need to start rebuilding with young, cheap players or move the franchise. Mats Sundin has pumped as much as he could into the team but its not gong to be enough.

The Sharks need a heart, along with a couple other organs better not described in a family article. It's unclear if Patrick Marleau will be one of them, but getting a transplant from the flabby body of the Leafs isn't going to do it.

The Sundin rumor target moved on to Dallas, maybe a better fit because they're an older team and have people to help Mats with the assisted living. Still the Sharks are a work in progress, not quite rising to the intensity of teams at their level or way below it, but picking up enough points to reassure themselves that there's nothing too wrong.

In the Pacific Division, neither the Sharks, Dallas nor Anaheim are a complete flop or a great success. Phoenix, too, is for real now that they have a goaltender who doesn't scare his teammates every time the puck crosses the blueline. Outside of us die-hards, Sharks' fans are patient. By Toronto standards, we're nearly dead, but at least we have a team that isn't. And if Doug Wilson wants another older player for some leadership on the ice and presence in the dressing room, how about John Madden of the Devils, since Bob Gainey isn't likely to quit Montreal and get twenty years younger.

More Mats Sundin- déjà vu?

This rumor is an odd callback of the 1994 trade that brought Mats Sundin to the Leafs, when he was the young talent and Wendel Clark was the old guy expected to bring leadership to the dressing room. That trade actually worked out for one team: Sundin kept his scoring touch and blossomed into a team captain. On the other side Clark's bash-into-people game wasn't a fit with the Nordiques/Avalanche and he was traded to the Islanders after one season.

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