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Gainey not optimistic about landing Sundin

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TSN.ca Staff
8/26/2008 9:31:50 PM
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With the start of training camp just three weeks away, the Montreal Canadiens aren't holding out much hope of landing unrestricted free agent Mats Sundin.

General Manager Bob Gainey discussed the team's attempts to try to sign the centre on Tuesday and admitted there's been little response from Sundin's camp.

"It's hard to be optimistic," Gainey told TSN's sister station RDS on Tuesday. "We haven't had much contact with him. It appears he's not interested. He hasn't asked many questions about the organization."

The Canadiens were seen as the front runners for the 37-year-old after the team acquired his negotiating rights from the Toronto Maple Leafs in late June. But the former Leaf captain remains undecided on whether or not he wants to return for another NHL season.

As many as six teams have expressed interest in Sundin's service, including the Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and New York Rangers. While teams have remained in contact with Sundin's agent J.P. Barry, Gainey has not heard anything as of late.

"We haven't spoken to Sundin's camp for at least a week," he told RDS. "There's nothing new, he hasn't decided anything yet. He told me he'd decide in August and today's the 26th. We'll know, provided he respects his own due date, his decision should come sometime throughout the next week."

Gainey, however, has not given up all hope.

"We're going to wait for his decision until September if we have to," he said. "On paper, we have the perfect team for him. There's certainly room for him with our team."

With the team's centennial drawing closer, there's added pressure for the Canadiens to put a Stanley Cup contender on the ice. And if the Sundin plan falls through, Gainey may be willing to explore other options to improve his lineup.

"I know that certain other teams are presently over the salary cap," he explained. "We'll have to see. If Mats doesn't join us, maybe we'll discuss things with those teams."

Bob Gainey (Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)
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