Tag:Mats Sundin
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:08 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:12 pm

Winter Classic Alumni Game possibilities

By Brian Stubits

Part of the fun -- and there are a lot of parts to it -- of the Winter Classic is the Alumni Game. There's nothing like seeing some of the best and most iconic players lacing up the skates again in their old, familiar sweaters.

The next rendition will pit some old Norris Division rivals in the Red Wings and Maple Leafs from Detroit's Comerica Park. It's the revival of an old hatefest, one of the great Original Six rivalries the game has.

Quite frankly, the Alumni Game doesn't seem to be all that fair to the Leafs. The Wings have the last 20 years worth of playoff rosters to pick from of guys who are still in good health and shape while the Leafs? Well let's just say they have hit hard times.

But nobody really cares about the competitive nature of the game -- except maybe for the guys on the ice. It's more about the nostalgia, the fun of honoring some past greats on the ice again.

With that said, here is a look at some potential players for the Alumni Game rosters, the Maple Leafs presented by Adam Gretz and myself bringing the Red Wings.

(Just spitballing here and this is in no way a comprehensive list.)

Toronto Maple Leafs

Goalie: Not one of the strongest positions in recent years, but there are certainly some options. It could probably come down to either "the cat," Felix Potvin, Toronto's starter between 1992 and 1998, or perhaps Curtis Joseph (also a Red Wing for a brief period in the early 2000s) who had some of his best days with the Leafs in the late 90s. One of the newest members of the Hall of Fame, Ed Belfour, spent some time with the Maple Leafs as well, so he could be a possibility to work his way into the game if he's interested.

Defensemen: The trouble with trying to project an entire roster for this game a year in advance is that it's not always made up of players that you would normally expect, or players that spent a great deal of time with the organization or had a ton of success. Example: Dan Rosen of NHL.com passed along the word on Twitter that Brian Leetch would play in the game if asked by the Maple Leafs. Leetch, of course, only spent 15 games in Toronto at the end of the 2003-04 season. Borje Salming seems like a pretty easy choice as he was one of the best players to wear a Leafs uniform over the past 30 years, one of the best offensive defensemen of his era and a hockey Hall of Famer. For purely selfish reasons I'd like to see Al Iafrate suit up just to see how hard he can still shoot a puck.

Forwards: The first three names here should be pretty easy to pick: Mats Sundin, Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark, a nice mix of skill, grit and as Brian Burke likes to call it, "truculence."

Other players to consider: Alexander Mogilny, Tie Domi, Gary Roberts, Steve Thomas, Dave Andreychuk.

Detroit Red Wings

Goalie: Chris Osgood. That pick is too easy. He just retired, hanging up the skates after last season. He spent 14 of his 17 NHL seasons playing for the Wings, which included three Stanley Cups. Hard to imagine Ozzy won't be there.

Defensemen: This is assuming Nicklas Lidstrom will still be active with the Red Wings, otherwise he would be in this spot. So I'm going to go with Chris Chelios for one and let's say Mark Howe for another, even if he only played three seasons in Detroit. Larry Murphy could be another. There's a long enough list of guys who spent some quality time in Detroit to fill out a corps.

Forwards: Here's where it gets fun. Brendan Shanahan will be in town any way, might as well skate up for the event. Apparently he's eyeing it too, and will try to get Steve Yzerman to join him. Can't imagine Stevie Y won't show. The best of all, though, is that Gordie Howe could make an appearance for a shift. The list of guys up here goes on and on.

Others to consider:

Kris Draper, Sergei Fedorov, Darren McCarty (needs to happen), Colin Campbell (Shanny and Campbell? Too good to pass up), Alex Delvecchio, Kirk Maltby, Brian Rafalski.

Others who passed through like Brett Hull could also have spots. So many to choose from.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 20, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 12:25 pm

Forsberg: Sweden let up for easier road in '06

By Brian Stubits

The Swedish national team lost in the preliminary round of the 2006 Olympics but went on to win the gold medal anyway. It was a triumph in the final over rival Finland that did it.

Now Swedish legend Peter Forsberg, a member of that '06 team, is saying his team took a dive in the prelims, purposely losing to Slovakia. Why, you ask? So the Swedes would avoid the side of the bracket that contained the Canadians and Russians.

“We did all that was needed to win the tournament," Forsberg told a Swedish TV station (via Google translate, so pardon the rough English). "We maybe discussed within the group probably 'is better if we do not go out and charge us too much.' All knew that this was our chance. We did all that was needed to win the tournament," Forsberg said.

"I think you can blame the whole system."

By losing to Slovakia 3-0, Sweden then had a medal-round draw of Switzerland in the quarters then went through the Czech Republic in the semifinals to reach the gold-medal game. Of course, if by design or not, it seemed to work.

One of his teammates, Canucks star Henrik Sedin, doesn't remember it going down that way.

“No, not at all,” replied Henrik when asked if the story was true. “I was surprised when I read it. We didn't talk about it at all in the room and the coaches didn't talk about it. Mats [Sundin] was our captain and he came out right away and said it wasn't true.”

“It wasn't on our radar to go out and lose, no, no,” Henrik insisted. “I don't think we thought about that before the game. Maybe when there were a few minutes left in the game it came up but not during the game. Slovakia had a great team and, if you looked at how they played in the tournament, they could beat anyone. The result wasn't a big upset for us, or anyone.

“You have to remember, too, that we were already in the quarter-finals," added Henrik. "It wasn't a big game for us, so to speak. So that might have been part of it.”

Is it a little dishonorable and against what the Olympics stand for? A little, sure. But even if they did take it a little easy against the Slovaks from the outset, I fail to see the problem. And as I said, the decision obviously paid off.

They were only avoiding the Russians and/or Canadians for so long, in theory. They still could have faced either country in the tournament finale but instead neither made it there. The Swedes had to face the country that knocked off Russia (who beat Canada), Finland, and won that game.

No harm, no foul. If Forsberg's account is true or not, it was probably still worth it for the players on the team. You don't get many chances to win a gold medal.

H/t to Yardbarker

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: August 12, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 5:27 pm

When hockey players and food commercials meet

By: Adam Gretz

The fine folks at Sports and Food recently looked at some of the most iconic athlete food and drink commercials, including the classic McDonalds spot where Larry Bird and Michael Jordan shoot hoops for a Big Mac. When athletes appear in advertisements it's not usually pretty, and a lot of the entertainment seemingly comes from the on-camera awkardness. Still, their list needs some hockey, and because it's the dog days of the offseason, here's another look at two our favorite spots featuring hockey players.

McDonalds has re-made it's Jordan-Bird advertisement multiple times, including a hockey version with Wayne Gretzy and Mats Sundin which is featured in the video on the left.

The video on the right -- which is by far my favorite -- involves former Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall selling Canada Dry Ginger Ale in what is perhaps the creepiest athlete endorsement ever.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com