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article imageMats Sundin Yet To Decide His Playing Future

By Nawest Vazquez     Aug 1, 2008 in Sports
Today is the day we were supposed to learn of Mats Sundin's decision regarding his future. Well, much to nobody's surprise, that ain't happening. But let's talk about Mats anyways.
Norte over at He Score, He Shoot! is officially bothered by the Sundin situation and the former Toronto captain's inability to come to a decision regarding if, and where, he will play next season. In Norte's words, "Give it to us straight Mats."
I think it's time to put on Mats Sundin's shoes, and look at the situation from his point of view. Remember, you're a professional ice hockey player, and 37 years old.
Sundin, as of July 1st, became a former Toronto Maple Leaf. He's a free agent, with no obligation of any kind to the Leafs or us, their loyal (and alcoholic) fans. Sundin has repeatedly maintained that he hasn't decided if he can put his body through the rigours of another NHL season. In my humble opinion, that is giving it to us straight. And we have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Why? Because he didn't take the $20 million Vancouver deal the moment it was offered to him. Because he's publicly said that the Vancouver deal is much more lucrative than any other offer he's received.
If Mats had taken the Canucks deal on July 1st or, hell, any time in July, he would have been a liar, a douchebag, and a hypocrite. But he didn't. Nothing has changed. He's maintained the same story from day one, and has stuck to it. He simply doesn't know if he wants to play next season.
If Mats does decide to prolong his career with another team, what's there to be bitter about? A draft pick or two? Come on. We're talking about the guy who gave us the best years of his hockey life. His youth. His prime. His everything. Life isn't simple. What really is forever anymore? There's a reason why half the people who get married on this side of the world end up getting divorced. I know Sundin started his career in Quebec, and he may yet put on another jersey, but he will always be remembered as a Toronto Maple Leaf. The best one, ever, actually. Not many athletes can say they spent their whole career, or even 14 years, with one franchise. Sundin doesn't deserve to have his legacy determined over any of this bullshit. Just remember what he did out on the ice.
Keep Sundin's shoes on. If you were him, you'd probably be doing exactly what he's doing right now. Some serious introspection, and keeping all your options open. The guy has got one or two years left of hockey in him, from which he can make $12-$14 million. He can set up another three or four generations of the Sundin family, for life. But he's got to want to do it. He's got to have the desire to do it. A hasty decision would be the wrong one, wouldn't you agree?
When it comes to Sundin, I tend to ramble. I love the guy. With all my heart. With the window closing on his career, and other opportunities facing him, I don't have it in me to be upset with him. I just want him to be happy. If he chooses to leave Toronto, I'll feel the sting, but I'll hold the door for him on his way out. It's the least I can do, after all he's done for me. If I've learned anything in my almost 26 years on this planet, it's that all good things must come to an end.
More about Mats sundin, Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL
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