Sunday, February 26, 2006

Golden Mats

If Canada Couldn't Win...

I made up my mind that when Canada was dumped from the Olympic hockey tournament, I would cheer for Mats Sundin and Team Sweden to win gold.

Four years ago, after a shocking defeat to Belarus, Sundin was left kneeling on the ice, trying to get his breath under control and trying to comprehend how things could have gone so terribly wrong.

Today, it was a different Sundin. I've never seen him more happy. There will be the criticism that Sweden threw a game to avoid playing Canada, and because of that, they don't deserve the gold medal. But sports are as much about strategy as they are pride and skill. No one can ever prove they threw their game against Slovakia in order to draw the Swiss in the quarter-finals, but if they did--and it worked--then it was a brilliant strategic play.

People will also say it's good that Sundin has won the gold, because he won't ever win the Cup with Toronto. I'd like to say that's not so, but let's face it, Toronto doesn't look like it'll be a Cup contender for a while. Sundin is 35. Unless he plays three or four more seasons, this gold medal today might have been his Stanley Cup.

Regardless, drink up, Mats. You earned it.


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