|DAVID COOPER/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO|
|Mats Sundin meets the press after the end of the Leafs' season.|
So this is the way it's going to be, huh?
Every week a crazy new Mats Sundin rumour. Last week he's going to have an artificial hip implanted, this week he's going to Djurdgarden to play for his former Swedish club team.
What's next? Mats not only spending time in Paris, but dating Paris once she gets out of the slammer?
Mats going to play minor league baseball? Mats off to live in an Australian yoga community? Mats being lured into Scientology by Tom Cruise? Mats off to climb Everest?
It's like Toronto, or those of us in the Toronto media, just can't stand the inactivity of the Leafs since their season ended, just can't stand the fact that Sundin's contract situation hasn't been cleared up and nailed down.
For his part, Leaf GM John Ferguson returned from the world championships in Moscow to find himself immersed in more Mats controversy surrounding reports that Djurdgarden was making a pitch for his captain.
"We have an option next year for his services. That subject (returning to Sweden) has not come up in any of our conversations," said Ferguson. "He has consistently stated his desire to remain and play in Toronto. That has not changed. There's no reason for me to speculate on anything beyond that."
Here's the facts. The Leafs hold an option on Sundin for next season at $4.5 million, but it comes with a cap hit of $6.3 million because that's the average of his salary for all the years under his current contract. The Leafs would like to sign him to a new two-year extension at a figure that would reduce the cap hit, but at the same time pay him more.
If Djurdgarden were to offer Sundin a deal, the Leafs could simply pick up the option. In other words, it's not like he's a free agent. Yes, some Swedes - Mats Naslund, Hakan Loob - have gone home to play while they still could play in the NHL, but they remain the exception. Sundin spends little time in Sweden these days and has no children, often the reason cited by players to return home.
Last year he supposedly didn't want to come back to Toronto. This year he was supposedly facing career-ending hip surgery. Now he's supposedly going back to Sweden to play.
By saying nothing, Sundin seems to create more chatter than he does when he's in town talking on a daily basis.