September 30, 2009
Given the satirical nature of Sundin's decision-making process in the past, we suppose waiting just over a month to announce his retirement from hockey should be applauded. No procrastination, getting right to the point; hey, marriage will do that to a guy.
"It was a tough decision," Sundin told reporters at a news conference at Stockholm's Grand Hotel on Wednesday. "It's sad to tell you today that my career as a pro hockey player is over."
Being a Swedish hockey star with something left in the tank, we're tempted to add the caveat "for now ..." at the end of "retired." But if Sundin's hanging up his NHL skates, he does so after 18 seasons with 564 goals and 785 assists in 1,346 games -- tied for 20th on the all-time goals list with Joe Nieuwendyk(notes) and 25th on the all-time points list. Not bad for a guy whose prime was in the trap years.
He only logged 91 playoff games in that time but scored 82 points in the postseason, retiring without his name on the Cup. But he did win Olympic gold for Sweden, so he's got that going for him, which is nice.
Sundin's time with the Vancouver Canucks last season for an enormous paycheck was never as ineffective as most critics deemed it. His greatest sin, besides ticking off legions of Toronto Maple Leafs fans with his career decisions, was simply not being as good as Mats Sundin anymore, which is reason enough for a former star to retire.
With his waning career finally at an end, it's legacy time: How will you remember Mats Sundin? Greatest Leaf? Greatest Swede? Greatest player to never win a Cup? One of the only NHL stars to ever match Wayne Gretzky goal-for-goal with a Big Mac on the line?