Do your friends think you need professional help?
This is just what the doctor ordered. The perfect prescription. The scores don't matter anymore, and the points on the table were only meaningful to Vancouver, yet tonight's game will probably be the most dramatic Leaf game of the season. The Captain is on an all-new journey, but this is still his Home. Tonight has nothing to do with the Canucks' playoff drive, nor even the current squad of marquee-less Maple Leafs. It is about Mats and Us. It is about Hope and Sorrow. And most of all, it is about Healing.
We all need somebody to love. For more then a decade, for millions of Leaf fans, that somebody was Sundin. Today we have Our Luke And Saviour, but we're just building that relationship and there's still butterflies on both sides. We know the best is yet to come. With Sundin, we had the best there was. And then he left us... or maybe we didn't want him enough... but then he took forever to decide if he wanted to come back... and we had to accept that our feelings for him were getting in the way of our good judgement, preventing us from moving on...
And so on and on and on it went. Until about December 19th, at which point Vancouver began to nosedive. We loved him, we hated him. We ridiculed and mocked him. And yet we swoon for his every word, thirst to see him strive and be challenged, and gawk at his humility and grace.
"Liar! Hypocrite! Sell-Out! Flip Flopper!", we hollered. To no avail. No one was listening. No reaction - no explanation. Sundin remained aloof as a butterfly, lost on the Pacific shores, fluttering thousands of miles away, as an on-line gambling spokesperson ought to be.
Finally, tonight was our night. Our chance to let him hear it, to let it all go, the love, the hate, the disappointment that comes from Hope, and the Healing needed to recover from Sorrow. For Sundin as well. It's important that we face each other, and get it out of our system, the good and the bad, even if it gets ugly, once and for all.
I should thank the Leaf faithful that were at the ACC tonight - they were outstanding. The atmosphere was as close to a playoff game as we're going to see this year, and the noise level increased with the tempo of the game until the very end. The standing ovation for Sundin was awesome. Very classy and I'm very glad it happened. It was my favorite part of the night. I also liked the booing, though. It gave the game an edge, which is fitting, since there's two sides to every situation.
Hopefully the issue is now settled and everyone can move on. The game was extremely satisfying and memorable, an excellent way to close the doors on this incredible saga. Our divisions can now be forgotten, along with our heartbreak, and the house of Leaf Nation can stand united and proud, once ag~
Mats Sundin. Greatest. Leaf. Ever.
What the?!? How'd that happen!?
It needed to be said.
But, this is impossible! It's absurd! You can't just~
Deal with it.
Ok, allright. Consider it dealt with. But consider this as well: Sundin, the greatest Leaf for more then a generation, may have just played his last NHL game at the ACC and skated off the ice as the triumphant shoot-out hero for the opposing team. Classic. Way to go, Mats.
There goes a Legend.