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Agent: Sundin still wavering on decision

Wednesday, 12.17.2008 / 8:31 PM / News

By NHL.com Staff

"He's going back and forth right now.  That's the truth. I'd gladly take a lie detector test — I don't know."
-- J.P. Barry, Mats Sundin's agent

One day after Vancouver Canucks General Manager Mike Gillis told the media that Mats Sundin would make his decision on Thursday, his agent said that might not be the case.

J.P. Barry told TSN's Darren Dreger on AM 640 Toronto radio on Wednesday that Sundin's decision to play for the Canucks, the New York Rangers or to retire would come tomorrow at the earliest — but might not be forthcoming until the weekend.

Barry also said he didn't know what the 17-year-veteran and longtime Toronto Maple Leaf captain's answer will be.

"He's going back and forth right now," Barry said, "That's the truth. I'd gladly take a lie detector test — I don't know."

With the Rangers struggling to get their offer above the $5 million a year range — due to salary cap considerations, they would have to make some player moves — Barry was asked if the Canucks and their $10 million offer were in the driver's seat.

"That'll be Mats' call," Barry said. "He's looking at a lot of different things in making the decision. Obviously, there will be a very large discrepancy in the compensation offered and that's one factor of many that he'll have to decide upon."

More than 10 teams expressed interest in Sundin on July 1, when free agency began. The 37-year-old narrowed his list down to Vancouver and New York last week.

Barry also confirmed during the radio interview that it would be very easy to sign with the Canucks, as they have the cap space available already, and that Sundin would be ready to go after Christmas.

"He would report to a team on the 27th," Barry said. "The coach would decide (when he plays), but he's in very good shape. I don't think it will be a long period after. He's been skating; he's been working out on his Swedish Olympic program for several months, so I think it would just be up to the coach."

Barry also said that he considered the Canucks and Rangers to be very close in terms of skill level, another factor in Sundin's decision. While noting that both teams were strong in goal, Barry suggested that the Rangers had more offensive ability and the Canucks were stronger on defense.
Gillis said Tuesday that Sundin was back in Sweden, analyzing what his best move would be.

"I think it's weighing two opportunities and having been on the players' side for a number of years, it’s always the same with guys, they’re weighing their opportunities, just like we all do with major decision in our lives," Gillis, a former player agent, said of Sundin's thought process.

Sundin was in New York last weekend to promote a poker Web site he's associated with. During his time in the Big Apple, he met with Rangers GM Glen Sather and watched the Blueshirts beat the Hurricanes in a shootout Saturday night.

After the game, Sundin met up with countrymen and current Rangers Henrik Lundqvist, Fredrik Sjostrom and Markus Naslund, who continued the recruiting effort.

"We met him after the game, and we talked a little bit. He loves New York," Lundqvist told MSG Network on Tuesday. "It comes down to a couple of teams now, and I really hope and believe he'll choose New York. But you never know."

Added Naslund, who joined the Rangers this season: "Coming to New York, you're in a unique situation. You get to play for the Rangers, which I think is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Playing in a city like New York has to weigh into his decision."

The Rangers desperately need offensive help. They lead the Atlantic Division despite scoring just 91 goals in 34 games — they are on top of their division largely because they're 8-1 in shootouts.

Sundin, 37, had 32 goals for the Leafs last season and has put up 555 goals and 766 points for 1,321 points in his NHL career.

The nine-time All-Star is the Maple Leafs' all-time leading scorer with 987 points — 420 goals and 567 assists — and served as the club's captain in 10 of his 13 seasons in Toronto after coming from Quebec in a trade.

Sundin, selected first overall by the Nordiques in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft, has 74 points (35 goals, 39 assists) in 83 career playoff games. He has also appeared in 65 games for Sweden and helped the Swedish team claim Olympic gold in Turin, Italy, in 2006.

Material from team Web sites and wire services was used in this report.
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