After six long months, the Mats Sundin saga is finally over as the unrestricted free agent has agreed to a contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
Update 3:12pm PT: From Canucks.com, comments from GM Mike Gillis and Mats Sundin:
“We are very excited to have Mats join the Vancouver Canucks,” said Mike Gillis, Vancouver Canucks General Manager. “Playing previously in two Canadian markets and consistently being among team and League leaders in scoring, Mats has proven that he can excel under pressure. He adds a wealth of experience, leadership and skill to the Canucks.”
“I am truly excited to be joining the Canucks,” said Sundin. “Once I made the decision to return to play a few weeks ago, the Vancouver opportunity was simply the best overall fit. I want to thank Mike Gillis and the entire Canucks organization for their professionalism throughout this entire process.”
Update 3:22pm PT: There’s no info yet whether this deal is just for the remainder of this year or includes next year as well, but there’s a press conference within the hour so I’ll post it by then at the latest. (That is unless Bob McKenzie at TSN does me proud and finds a source before that conference…) :)
Update 3:28pm PT: According to ESPN—
“Barry and Canucks GM Mike Gillis were still working out the final financial details of the deal but it’s expected it will be worth somewhere around $10 milllion, pro-rated, for one season.”
Update 3:55pm PT: From the blog at The Province:
The deal is believed to be for the rest of
this season, at $7 million
Updates being added below… anything and everything.
Update 3:52pm PT: Killing time until the press conference, I found this moderately amusing. First, the story on Sundin in the National Post—published at The Center of the Universe, I do believe—appearing with this photo:
But roughly the same regurgitated Canucks press release in the Vancouver Sun, featured a slightly happier Mats:
Perhaps someone at the Post is bummed out while someone at the Sun is slightly giddy at the news?
Just a thought. :)
Back to News Updates
4:08pm PT: Dudes can be annoying, but you might want to dive into Team 1040.ca. All Sundin All The Time for the foreseeable future.
4:15pm PT: Listening to J.P. Barry on Sportsnet TV. Nothing much there but his contention that Mats in “game shape”—which seems unlikely, but I can believe he’s in good shape regardless.
4:17pm PT: Still waiting for the press conference to start. Meanwhile, Aftonbladet offers a Sundin slideshow, if you’re bored.
4:30pm PT: STILL waiting for the press conference to start (What are they doing down at GM Place? Sacrificing bunnies?) so I thought I’d share this from Empty Netters, who aren’t impressed:
We were sitting around the computer all day waiting for word on Sundin to come down and when we FINALLY decide to go out to Subway, he decides to make up his mind. What a jerk.
4:34pm PT: Sportsnet TV dudes are debating whether age 37 is really age 40. Or something like that. I’m getting the urge to run over someone.
4:37pm PT: The Mats Sundin Breaking News Timeline. Essentially, Twitter broke it. Nice job, although I would like to point out that the Canucks press release was issued 1 minute before Twitter… :)
4:40pm PT: Press conference is live. Screen shot is Canucks GM Mike Gillis taking some time to look smug.
4:45pm PT: Gillis subtly points out one of Sundin’s assets. If I may loosely translate:
“He’s lived in the spotlight of the Toronto media… he can certain deal with you as$#%holes.”
(Or something like that…)
4:58pm PT: There seemed to be a theme to all the questions at the press conference. Basically, that the Vancouver media hates (and who can blame them?) that they didn’t see this coming at all and they’re desperate to find some evidence that the decision was only made five minutes before the news broke.
I know I say it all the time, but this team is very good at keeping info from leaking till they leak it themselves.
5:00pm PT: Cutting away from the press conference, my TV immediately switched to an advertisement with the image of a kitten and the words “Alone and Terrified!” on the screen.
I hope that’s not an omen.
5:14pm PT: Sweet dreams, Canucks fans. And say bye-bye to the Canucks cap space breathing room we enjoyed for a while. But that’s okay—having barely a single dime left in the bank feels like everything is back to normal in our world.
And one final thought: I’m betting that Sundin looks pretty awful for a while, but he’ll improve fast. He’s in good shape. But that won’t stop everyone from suggesting he’s washed up while he’s getting back into game shape.
So just have patience—I expect he’ll be a factor in no time.
(And for $7 freakin’ million, he bloody well better be…!)