Canucks and Beyond
Entries with the tag: mats sundin
“Yes, it is actually impossible to predict, but I hope and believe that Detroit wins. And they do in six matches.”
—Mats Sundin, Vancouver Canucks (quote via Nucks Misconduct)
Translation: “Dear Ken Holland: I’m desperate to sign with your team this summer. Let’s talk!”
Although someone did just rip off a supply of his signed Canucks’ jerseys not too long ago, so if he wanted to stay he can at least assume that he’s still popular with Vancouver fans.
Well, to those comfortable with committing crimes, anyway.
In the crush of the Stanley Cup Finals and all the related pandering, whining and moaning—about everything from NBC broadcast schedules to the importance of stopping criminal octopi from littering Pennsylvania, etc—it’s easy for the really important Canucks stories to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why when we had a chance to find out about Mats Sundin’s future this week, we weren’t going to miss the opportunity to talk to the source. Or rather, to his feet… or to be really specific, to his left skate.
Some hockey news providers might consider such an interview ‘unconventional’, or ‘lacking professionalism’ or ‘crazy-as-snakes’, but Canucks & Beyond doesn’t discriminate in rampant ways against stray pieces of hockey equipment.
We are, as always, unflinching in our search for truth.
Interview is transcribed below.
January hasn’t been pretty for the Vancouver Canucks and I don’t have much to add to the dialogue of panic that’s been going on. My own kneejerk reaction was—and still is—to look hard at coach Alain Vigneault, but obviously the current slump is about more than any one man.
Looking around the whole team, I’d say it’s a perfect storm of crap.
Geez. I swear (swear!) I’m as excited as the next dude about having the Swedish Meatball (term of endearment, honest) debut for the Canucks tonight, but surely this city is losing its head. Mats Sundin’s highly-anticipated game in Edmonton has all the hallmarks of a religious event.
Here are some stray signs that Vancouverites are losing their minds:
I finally got my first interview with Mats Sundin who graciously agreed to chat on video while preparing for his imminent return to the NHL this week.
This was his first interview with a hockey blogger which might be what led us to discussing some rather unconventional topics. The conversation touched on everything from Kyle Wellwood to Sean Avery to… well, you’d better see for yourself.
Anyway, video is below and I think it went quite well, honestly. (Well, except the part where I mispronounced “Canucks”... oh, and all the talk about “skanks”... no idea how that came up…)
From Brad Ziemer at the Vancouver Sun:
Mats Sundin will travel to Edmonton with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, but won’t decide until after Wednesday morning’s game-day skate whether he will play that night against the Oilers.
Sundin participated in his first full practice with the Canucks late this morning and will work out with the team again Tuesday before travelling with the Canucks later in the day to the Alberta capital.
Another step closer to actually playing hockey game this season *knock on wood*.
And in goalie-related news, C. Sanford is ready for bench/net duty, J. LaBraBra is holding up nicely, and C. Schneider has been sent back down to Manitoba. (Although despite all this fairly good news, R. Luongo’s photo has been spotted on milk cartons throughout the lower mainland with the message: “Have You Seen This Goalie? Please call 1-888-HURRYTHEHELLUP”).
If all that news isn’t exciting enough, take a tour of the Canucks locker room, lounge and equipment area. Video below:
The only thing missing from Mats Sundin’s arrival in Vancouver this week was a shot of Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham striking a pose for the cameras, and a few well-chosen celebrity guests on Entertainment Tonight sharing their excitement at the hero’s new gig on the west coast.
The local media is on an endless loop for the past 12-24 hours, working itself into a tizzy at the arrival of a new star in town. It doesn’t matter that he hasn’t played a game or even honored them with a sound bite. It’s still the Christmas season and The Second Coming has arrived—he just happens to be a bald, 37 year old Swedish guy.
And apparently a pretty good hockey player, too.
I was watching TSN last night, where they were documenting
errr… Sundin’s arrival, and with the constant camera flashes as he jumped into the backseat of some SUV, it looked very much like the king had arrived. Or a Hollywood starlet.
So what is all the fuss about?
What happens when you get a couple superstar Vancouver Canucks hockey players—Sundin & Luongo—alone in a room with me, a bunch of fancy Christmas lights, and a boatload of Jägermeister? Well… DISCO of course!
What can I say? Them boys like to party…
P.S. If you can’t see/use the player above, you can view the movie here. Merry Christmas, all.
The announcement of the Mats Sundin deal yesterday seemed to impress the Vancouver media more than the fans. Not that the fans aren’t happy—most seem to be pretty psyched about it, including me despite some reservations about the terms—but I think many are suspicious. Or perhaps just cautious in their optimism.
But still, there’s always New York for a little “reality check”—or perhaps it’s just embittered, revisionist history?—such as that from Larry Brooks in the New York Post today:
IN the end, Mats Sundin made like Woodward and Bernstein following Deep Throat’s advice. He followed the money.
The 37-year-old free agent center followed the money to Vancouver, accepting a pro-rated $10 million deal from the Canucks instead of less than that to live in New York and play for the Rangers New York Rangers .
Sundin followed his wallet instead of his heart. Good for him. Just one more mercenary the way pretty much professional athletes essentially are.
I doubt there was a bad seat in the house—after, all, what could be better than attending the Trevor Linden jersey retirement ceremony in person Wednesday night.
Well, how about attending that ceremony as a guest with Linden’s family and friends in the box he’d reserved for the evening?
That was my friend Michael McKinley‘s experience last night, and this morning he was nice enough to chat with me about the affair, sharing thoughts on the ceremony itself and the insights he got chatting with the Linden family and other guests at that momentous event.
Which is good, because somehow I wasn’t on that guest list. Go figure.
After a three-day holiday—both for the Canucks and for me, apparently, as I’ve been pretty much ignoring my favorite team around here for most of the week—the team is back in action tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.
But before that, let’s round up the Canucks news this week. Which is pretty easy—there’s only two topics anyone is talking about.
- Roberto Luongo— Luongo’s agent denied saying back in November that his own personal-puck-stopping-retirement-plan was going to be out 4-5 weeks. But now that Luongo is no longer traveling with the team and said to be “sore” (code-speak for “Oh, #$%!” in Vancouver) that original estimate is looking more believable three weeks into his injury. That was, believable until last night when Alex Burrows seemed to let it ‘slip’ on TV that Luongo might be out another 4-6 weeks? (depending how you want to interpret his remarks). So bottom line: it’s the perfect time to buy a jersey with Schneider-Sanford’s name on it. (Update: Luongo out “indefinitely” - more below).
Thursday in Los Angeles, Mats Sundin attended the Canucks/Kings game in the company of his agent, along with Vancouver’s GM Mike Gillis. Gillis has professed the interaction didn’t include any noteworthy business talk, but that doesn’t mean the NHL in general isn’t a bit intrigued.
Whether Sundin were to join the Canucks or not is a contentious issue—certainly, there are plenty who still feel the Leafs are front-runners for his services. But whether Canucks fans want or don’t want Sundin to join their favorite team, is there anyone that thinks that available dollars is actually the deciding issue for the team?
Matthew Sekeres at the Globe & Mail has the notion that it is:
You’d think winning 4-0—especially after coming off a cold streak like the Canucks have been going through—would be uber-gratifying. But watching them smoke a team playing as self-destructively as the Kings were last night, I was a bit underwhelmed.
Still, congrats to Roberto Luongo for the shutout, to Taylor Pyatt for looking more like a hockey player again the last couple games, and to the Sedins who are finally out of their black hole. (More on the game at Canuck Nation.)
But while the Canucks held their own on the ice, their fans took a beating from the LA Kings mascot and his giant bag of popcorn last night.
The Vancouver Sun has honored us with possibly the least flattering Canucks headline in recent history: “Canucks Explore the Science of Sleep”
Which sounds like last season, but no… it’s actually just the team’s travel schedule, according to GM Mike Gillis:
“[We] are doing everything possible to to travel as well as we can. To that end, we’re bringing in a company called Global Fatigue Management to look at all our players and their sleep habits and how we travel, and try to help us design the best possible schedule that we can come up with to keep our players fresh.”
He also says that the Canucks travel schedule is a notable part of why Mats Sundin hasn’t yet snapped up the $10 million the team has budgeted for him this season.
My French is
... well, really freakin horrible, but I can pick up the broadstrokes of these two stories today (Corus Sports and RDS) and the news is essentially this: Gainey hasn’t completely given up, but he’s not optimistic that Sundin will play for the Habs this season.
Forgive my parched translation (actually, it’s less of a “translation” and more of a “paraphrase”) but here are his comments:
“It is difficult to be optimistic because we haven’t had much contact with him. We haven’t gotten the message he’s very interested in becoming a Canadian. We have a place for him on paper and we’ve made him a good offer.”
Gainey also remarks that he expects a decision from Sundin by the end of the month, but I’m not clear on whether that’s because the Habs need to move on to plan ‘B’ at that point, or because Gainey has been told that Sundin actually intends to decide by Monday.
Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg were both golfing at the same charity tournament yesterday, the photos taken by a friend of the Denver Post’s Adrian Dater.
Clearly, these are two athletes in a big hurry to get back into hockey shape.
Sigh. I’m worried for Mats—I think we’ve reached a stage where people blow an ankle just looking at Forsberg at this point.
I’ve ignored almost everything “Mats Sundin” that’s come along in recent weeks, which is probably foolish from a popularity point of view. Judging from the glut of stories being published daily on the subject, the mainstream media and a few shrewd hockey blogs have found a sure-fire way to generate summer hockey traffic.
That is: think about Mats Sundin; write about Mats Sundin; post about Mats Sundin; think about writing and then posting about Mats Sundin… etc.
Mostly I just find it boring, but I suppose the matter needs to be dragged up and aired out once in a while. Especially when Howard Berger says something dumb enough I’m forced to actually defend the Toronto Maple Leafs…
Craig Custance at The Sporting News wonders about Glen Murray:
So now what? It’s widely assumed that Murray will be bought out by the Bruins. The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa talked with Boston GM Peter Chiarelli and Chiarelli acknowledged that this was a tough decision, but needed the flexibility. “It’s not written in stone that he’ll be bought out, but it is a step toward that,” Chiarelli told Shinzawa.
Now, there might not have been takers for Murray at $4.15 million, but he becomes a viable option for a team looking for help on the wing if he gets bought out.
I certainly wouldn’t cry about him playing for my favorite team for a modest discount, but who knows how much of a price cut will be available? As Murray’s agent tells Custance, he expects a strong market for his client.
But if that doesn’t work out, it seems that Murray can always blame Mats Sundin for his troubles…
A brief selection of odd news that has almost nothing to do with nation of Sweden.
- DN has a source stating that Mats Sundin has decided that—if he does return to the NHL—he will be playing in Vancouver (*changed. see updates.)
- His overseas agent (?) Claes Elefalk told DN he is unaware of this development, but did state they are in contact with the Canucks, as recently as yesterday.
Chart 1— Demitra vs Naslund
Chart 2— Demitra’s 2007-08 Line Combos and Points
Chart 3— Demitra’s Situational Ice Time for 2007-08
Chart 4— Sundin’s 2007-08 Line Combos and Points
- The Canucks lay their bets on Backes. That didn’t work out so well.
- Canucks throw $20,000,000 at Mats Sundin. But even that isn’t enough money to play for Vancouver these days
From Canada’s Vancouver Province to Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter, baseless hockey rumors seem to be infecting the mainstream media world lately, and at a rapid pace.
Yesterday’s “Sundin Picks Vancouver” kerfuffle created a storm of attention, so I contacted the author of that claim last night—Dusan Umicevic— to request more information.
He was generous enough to write back, but after hearing his explanation I don’t believe he had much basis to write the explosive story that he did.
The complete DN report is translated (terribly) by Google, below. Below that is the Aftonbladet translation, summarizing the original report.
NOTE: Significant changes to the translation available in the updates below.
There are 5 stages of grieving, typically understood to be: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
When it comes to Mats Sundin, Vancouver fans have gone through all of them lately. Here’s the breakdown:
Mike Boone at Habs Inside/Out posted this over the weekend:
If Mats Sundin plays hockey this season it will be as a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
Because it makes sense. And Sundin is a sensible guy from Sweden, a sensible social democracy where people drive Volvos and go to Ingmar Bergman movies and learn to play smart hockey.
Spare me. Ingmar Bergman movies are the answer to the Jeopardy question, “What is the most drab and depressing thing you can think of?”
Statistics aren’t everyone’s cup of tea (least of all mine; in university, I dropped out of ‘Introductory Statistics’ three times before finally finishing and passing the course) but they’re obviously a useful tool when it comes to breaking down a player—especially a player who’s new to the team and somewhat of an unknown quantity.
Below are four charts I’ve put together to look at Pavol Demitra (and one on Mats Sundin) from a variety of perspectives:
Now if they can just sign SunKdin, they might be able to ice a hockey team come October.
... or so sayeth Howard Berger on FAN 590 for the last two days, reporting it as a rumor (one that, apparently, only he has heard). So I’d continue to ignore Berger but it’s getting hard to—he keeps saying it and people keep asking about it.
While I have no idea if Sundin is (or was) in Vancouver this week, here are a couple things to consider:
(plus evening updates below…)
From Ben Kuzma in The Province:
Unrestricted free agent centre Brendan Morrison will not re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks, The Province has learned.
At one point, seven teams expressed interest in Morrison and a source indicated that the 32-year-old Pitt Meadows native is expected to sign a multi-year deal elsewhere and reject a one-year, $1.9-million US offer from the Canucks.
Canucks Free Agency Thrills, in summary—
via TSN, a statement from Mats Sundin today:
“I would like to thank all the teams who have expressed such sincere interest in my services.
“The numerous options provided to me were impressive and I have no doubt that each one presented a unique opportunity for me to finish my career in a terrific hockey environment.
“I spent a great deal of time yesterday reflecting upon the teams who stepped forward and the opportunities that each provided. Unfortunately, I am simply not close to being ready to make a decision about resuming my career at this time.
“I wish all the teams the very best and thank them for their interest.”
Alrighty then. Got a “Plan B” (or “C” or “D” or…) in mind, Mr. Gillis?
The Vancouver Canucks have reportedly signed forward Ryan Johnson. According to Team 1040, the Canucks inked the 10-year veteran to a two-year, $2.4 million contract.
Johnson spent the past six seasons with the St. Louis Blues after being claimed off waivers from the Florida Panthers, the team that drafted him.
More on that later, presumably. Meanwhile, Mike Gillis’s response to the $20 million offered to Mats Sundin today:
“We don’t [have a timetable for an answer]. Mats has gone to bed in Sweden,” said Gillis. “I know he’s thinking about things. From all indications he was very, very pleased that we stepped up and did what we did. We’re hoping to have some more dialogue in the morning and get a positive response.”
$20 million. What’s not to be pleased about?
From the wild world of hockey rumors, Bruce Garrioch reports:
The Vancouver Canucks are after Mats Sundin. League sources told Sun Media the Canucks have offered the Toronto captain a two-year, $20 million deal.
Sundin hasn’t decided on his future, but he’s contemplating it.
Fan590’s Howard Berger just mentioned the same thing. (thanks to readers for sending this one in!)
12:05pm PT: That Vancouver is the team that offered this deal to Sundin is also now being reported on TSN television.
3:22pm PT: J.P. Barry, Sundin’s agent, states on FAN590 that his client has received nine offers today which he’s considering. He states that money is not the most important factor (clearly, if he’s hesitating at this insane Canucks offer) and that Toronto is also still a possibility. Barry also says that Sundin isn’t certain he will return to the NHL at all yet, which is part of what’s taking him some time to figure out.
... that is the current obsession.
Bruce Arthur at Canwest News breaks it down.
Whether the Vancouver Canucks should trade for Mats Sundin is not the question.
OK, well, it is the question.
Cool. And the answer?
Ed Willes in today’s Province notes what he considers one of the more plausible trade-deadline possibilities for the Vancouver Canucks:
The Pittsburgh Penguins are thought to be making centre Erik Christensen available for a physical defenceman and Christensen fits the Canucks’ profile. He’s 24, has decent size and some skill. The injury to Sidney Crosby may effect his availability in the short term, but Christensen might be a fit in Vancouver.
CBC’s Satellite Hotstove just wrapped up with a few words on the Mats Sundin
situation that might be of interest to Canucks fans.
Al Strachan made the comment that Sundin may be leaning towards Vancouver, in part because staying in Canada is his preference—he doesn’t want to leave Canada due to the nature of his investments. However he also emphasized that John Ferguson is asking for a lot in return.
Pierre LeBrun’s perspective is that more than anything, Sundin really wants to stay in Toronto.
I guess we’ll see. Sundin has a NTC after all—he can go wherever he wants. And with the Leafs having only 44 points, almost zero hope of making the playoffs at this rate, and their captain a free agent this summer, JFJ and his bosses really don’t have much choice here.
Update 6:10pm PT: Spector also summarizes the Hotstove talk above with his opinion that, as long as the Leafs are in the playoff hunt, Sundin won’t be traded.
No doubt, true, and so it’ll probably all come down to where the Leafs rest in the standings by trade deadline day, late February.