The 2009 Top 10 NHL Plays Of The Year
Mats Sundin’s Best Chance To Win The Stanley Cup
Total Pro Sports - Please welcome our newest writer and his first article at TPS Gianfranco Costa. Mats Sundin is in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2004 when an overtime goal by JR (a.k.a Jeremy Roenick) sent the leafs packing. Post lockout, Sundin was on three terrible Toronto Maple Leafs squads that could not make the playoffs through no fault of his own. But enough about the Toronto Maple Leafs and their chaotic approach to building a winner, that’s another article for another day. Let’s talk about a team that has a legitimate chance of being Canada’s first team to hoist the cup since 1993, the Vancouver Canucks. They might not be the sexy pick to win it all like the San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, or the Boston Bruins but here is why I believe they can make a deep push into June.
Firstly, they have two balanced scoring lines(D.Sedin, H.Sedin, Burrows)(Kesler, Sundin, Demitra) which you need in order to win it all; don’t believe me, talk to Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, and Dany Heatley who had no help in the 2006 final against the Anaheim Ducks (lost 4-1). Secondly, they have a solid defence core. They do not have Norris Trophy material on the back end but collectively: Alex Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Mattias Ohlund, Sami Salo, and Willie Mitchell are more than capable of getting the job done. Thirdly and most importantly, they have the best goalie in the world (whose name is not Brodeur). Roberto Luongo has been waiting a long time to carry a team to the top.
Two years ago he got his feet wet against the Dallas Stars and stood on his head, unfortunately his team was offensively challenged and they lost to the Ducks in the second round. He is entering the post season with back-to-back shutouts to close out the regular season; those were two huge wins because it allowed the Canucks to leap frog the Calgary Flames and win the North West Division. Luongo had 9 shutouts on the season which was 2nd to rookie Steve Mason but let’s keep in mind that Luongo only started 54 games due to a groin injury. Back to Mats, his 28 points in 41 games as a Canuck has left many wondering if GM Mike Gillis made a bad decision in bringing him in.
Remember one thing, Mats is 38 years old and missed half a season; also, he is on a new team for the first time since 1994 and he is no longer the number 1 centre or on the top power play all the time. Instead Vancouver has him as their number 2 centre behind Henrik Sedin and gets rotated on the top power play unit. These are all factors when looking at someone’s production. Be that as it may the regular season is behind us and Mats will be judged by what he does in the Playoffs.
In closing, if Vancouver gets steady production from both scoring lines along with steady play by their defence and all-world goaltending by Luongo, do not be surprised if the Cup goes West this summer. And seeing as I am the self proclaimed biggest Mats Sun din fan, what a way to end a hall of fame career.