Sundin And The Habs Still Eyeing Each Other


According to TSN's Bob McKenzie, the Mats Sundin camp has whittled his list of possible return destinations down to four potential candidates, including the Canadiens. In speaking with Sundin agent J.P. Barry, McKenzie alluded to Chicago, the Rangers, Vancouver, and Montreal as being places where there remains mutual interest on both sides.

McKenzie explains that other than Vancouver, the three remaining suitors would be in need of clearing salary cap space to accomodate Sundin's arrival, and that the player and agent are aware of how this could potentially weaken the team of his destination. As this is where all party's stand at the moment, the Sundin camp has proposed a soft deadline of December 15 for a decision that could see him return to NHL action between Christmas and New Years' day.

McKenzie places New York and Vancouver as front runners in the chase, followed by the Canadiens and Blackhawks as secondary choices.

The goal for Barry is to try to process enough information this week to be able to make a decision by next week. Sundin's expectation is that he will begin playing NHL regular season games with his new team immediately after Christmas but before New Year's, so long as that is amenable to the team that signs him.

The story hit TSN at noon today, and I spent the afternoon taking in the chatter on CKAC on the subject. Most listeners concerns in bringing Sundin into the Canadiens fold had to do with team chemistry and Sundin's timing on ice.

The fact that he has not played an NHL game since last March was underlined greatly today, but not once did I hear it countered that Sundin ought to be able to adapt fairly quickly due to his skill level. Age is a concern in this, admittedly, but Sundin played some of the most passionate hockey of his career late last season, upon returning from injury to help Toronto almost, and impossibly, make a playoff sprint.

In speaking with McKenzie, Barry made it quite clear that Sundin's prime motivation if a chance to win the Stanley Cup. Monetary concerns it seems, are quite secindary.

Read all of McKenzie's article at the TSN site here.

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