Friday, February 10, 2012
Mats Sundin Week continues here at Third String Goalie as the Toronto Maple Leafs are set to honor former captain Mats Sundin by adding his jersey #13 to the ranks of the numbers honored by the franchise this Saturday at the Air Canada Centre. The Maple Leafs are unique in their policy of honoring a player's number, but allow those honored numbers to again be worn by future players, reserving outright number retirement for those whose careers end due to misfortune while a member of the Maple Leafs following an outstanding career while playing for Toronto.
After the 2003-04 season, during which Sundin led the Maple Leafs in scoring for the ninth time in ten seasons, the 2004-05 NHL season was eventually cancelled due to the owners locking out the players. While 388 NHL players played in Europe during the season, with 75 of those in the Swedish Elitserien, the 33-year-old Sundin chose to sit out the year.
When play resumed in the 2005-06 season, Sundin had the misfortune of being struck in the eye with a puck seven minutes into the game on opening night, the first game back after the lockout, which also broke an orbital bone in his face, sidelining him for a month.
With his teammates given an unexpected 12 game head start on their captain, they could still not hold off the eager Swede once he returned to the ice. Benefitting from the new rules package which eliminated obstruction, Sundin matched his goal total from his last complete season while exceeding his number of assists to finish with 31 goals and 47 assists for 78 points, three more than in 2003-04 and ten more than any Maple Leaf that season. Had Sundin been able to compete in all 82 games that season, he was on pace for 91 points.
Today's featured jersey is a 2005-06 Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin jersey which features the 2005 Hall of Fame Game patch worn once on November 5, 2005 during Sundin's return from a month missed due to a broken orbital bone after being hit in the face with a puck on the opening night of the season. Sundin finished the night with a goal and an assist, his first points of the season, as the Maple Leafs defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-3.
Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2005-06 Toronto Maple Leafs Mats Sundin jersey which features the NHL Cares/Katrina Relief Fund patch worn during the first period of the Maple Leafs home opener October 5, 2005.
Unfortunately, Sundin was hit in the face by a puck seven minutes into the game, suffering a broken orbital bone, causing him to miss the next month of the season.
Today's video section we take a step back and see Sundin as a 13-year-old learning the game in his native Sweden.
Next, Sundin scores a pair of goals just 14 seconds apart, one on a penalty shot.
Finally, Sundin gets under the skin of a former Canadiens goaltender in this Nike commercial.