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Sundin will take his time deciding his future

Bob McKenzie
6/23/2008 8:10:41 PM
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The Montreal Canadiens are finding out what the Toronto Maple Leafs have known for a long, long time - you don't rush Mats Sundin.

Montreal GM Bob Gainey is all set at a moment's notice to fly to Sweden to meet face to face with Sundin, now that Montreal has his exclusive negotiating rights until July 1, but Sundin and his agent J.P. Barry are, for now, limiting the dialogue to some telephone conversations until they decide whether to take the next step in the courtship.

The truth is, this is all happening too fast for Sundin, who doesn't feel comfortable being pressured into deciding right now which NHL team he wants to play for because he hasn't gone through his annual introspection of whether he is even going to play another season.

We all assume Sundin will play because, well, he is still performing at such a high level and Sundin would be the first to tell you he probably has more confidence in his health and body now than he did last summer.

But everything Mats does is on Mats' time and it isn't hurried. He has been emphatically told by his agent that it is in his best interest to make decisions as quickly as possible, that there's an element of you snooze, you lose, when it comes to unrestricted free agency. He has been told Montreal is a great hockey fit and while he could seize that opportunity, those who know him say he hasn't yet completely closed the door on a return to the Leafs, who have provided the general framework for a one-year deal in the $7 million range.

And it is possible he may simply want to embrace his total freedom on July 1 and take as much time as he likes to talk to the Rangers or Red Wings or whomever in addition to Toronto and Montreal.

Put it this way: it's Mats' call and it'll be done on Mats' time, no one else's.

Bob McKenzie

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