Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poker Face Puppet

First of all, credit where it's due. Nice work by TorontoSportsMedia, PuckDaddy, and Mirtle. I've been kinda late reacting to this, possibly due to a mix of denial and apathy, but in case anybody's wondering what El General thinks, here it comes:

I've always admired Mats Sundin, though not unconditionally. There have always been conditions. One of those conditions, the first, is to continually bring respect to the Maple Leaf uniform. Beware readers: I may have turned a corner here.

Poker.

Poker? Seriously, poker. P-O-K-E-R. Mats Sundin is playing poker. Yes, poker. Not hockey. Not sticks and skates and pucks and speed and courage and honour. Nope. Poker. A game you play with a deck of cards and plastic coloured chips. Not Crazy Eights, but close. It's poker. A game that just isn't fun unless you play for money. I would've thought Go Fish was more Sundin's style.

"I have always enjoyed playing poker and partnering with PokerStars gives me the opportunity to challenge myself and explore the full potential of my game."

PokerStars. Not Bob Gainey. He only gave Sundin the opportunity to join a glorious franchise for their historic 100th season. Only the challenge of being a key component on a team with the most potential to rival Pittsburgh for a spot in the Cup Final. That's all.

"It means I will be more able to fulfill my personal ambition of working with charities around the world and I will be donating 100 percent of the money I earn from playing poker to charity."

Gosh, what a beautiful sweetheart. Another way Mats could fulfill his ambition of working with charities around the world would be to play for the Vancouver Canucks. They're sorta needy and unfortunate. Then Sundin could donate 100 percent of 10 million dollars to charity and it would really be win-win, except, of course, when the Canucks lose, which they would still do often, even with Sundin.

"I believe the fighting spirit I've developed as a hockey pro will really help me at the tables."

That's not a "fighting spirit". It's called a "Country Club atmosphere", and it seems to be floating on Sundin's shoulders wherever he goes. But yes, that Country Club atmosphere he's cultivated will certainly help him at the tables.

Thank goodness Sundin is no longer Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It would be an odd situation, to say the least, to have the leader of the league's most prestigous team openly endorsing online gambling. To be fair, PokerStars.com is just poker and has no links to slots, horse-racing, or sports-wagering. The ultra chic design seems to suggest that this is a place for up-scale, mature online gamblers, not teenagers and college students. The frequent player points program seems to encourage and reward dedication to this popular online activity. Just like death will reward me for my dedication to smoking cigarettes.

Thankfully, most of the young people who admire Sundin are not the least bit impressionable. Unlike Mats, they are more then capable of making up their own minds and making their own decisions. By the way, how's that coming? Any progress?

"I will not make up my mind before the season starts. That's how I feel right now. If I would feel like retiring, I would say it."

Of course. Take your time. What about poker? Will Mats play in any more tournaments?

"Absolutely!"

...(sigh) I'm not sure Mats should come back to Toronto anymore. He can go play in Vancouver and build a Country Club out there. We're trying to get serious about winning hockey games, not card games. If you get more excited at the prospect of holding a Royal Flush then you do touching the Stanley Cup, then there is something seriously wrong with you. That sure as hell ain't leadership.
...(sigh) I've had another moment to think about it - I didn't realize it was this bad - Mats Sundin has lost his mind and no one can help him. This is going to get worse. Michael Jackson worse.

5 comments:

eyebleaf said...

and we've lost another mats sundin supporter...

MF37 said...

Interesting take.

I look forward to future posts taking on NHL players and their agents who are involved in owning, training and supporting horse racing. Look no further than Curtis Joseph and Ron Wilson as two prime members of this big-hat mint julep old-money country club atmosphere...dispicable isn't it?

Down Goes Brown said...

I'm a poker fan and used to play online quite a bit. I think you're giving the game a bad rap.

That said, it did seem odd that Sundin would be off the grid for most of the summer and then show up to cash an endorsement cheque. I don't care if it's a poker site or a shoe company, it doesn't really do much to combat the whole "he's lost the competitive fire" image.

Not really a big deal in my mind, just an odd PR move.

Down Goes Brown said...

By the way, "Poker Face Puppet" would be a good name for a blog.

general borschevsky said...

Cheers for the comments!

eyebleaf: I'm still a Mats supporter - for now. Like a brother who has lost his way, I'll will be there when he comes home. But it can also be hard to hide my dissapointment.
MF37: I actually really like horse racing. I grew up with it. I'm not suggesting that a partnership between sports personalities and industries that involve betting or gambling is somehow immoral. I'm just not sure it's very charitable either. Kinda the opposite. By the way, thanks for dropping by!
DGB: I don't mean to give poker a hard time. Obviously lots and lots of people love poker as it has become an industry unto itself. But for me it's just a game of cards. Normally I would never tell anyone what they should or shouldn't spend their time and money on - but Sundin is an exception, because he is an exceptional human being with exceptional talents. This is beneath him - not you or me, but specifically beneath someone like Sundin, at this moment in his life. He can play poker until he's 100 years old, but does he have to start now? While his legs are still superhumanly strong and his backhand is still the most feared by goalies in the NHL? He can play poker when he's in a wheelchair. Until then he should skate. As far as using poker as a way of helping charities, let me point out the Mike Weir Foundation, which aims to raise 10 million dollars for childrens' health by playing the sports he is gifted at - Golf! If Sundin really wanted to continue working with charities, he could spend the whole year appearing in charity hockey game after charity hockey game, raising money for worthy causes while connecting with the fanbase of the sport that made him a popular figure in the first place.