SUNDIN DECISION COMING THURSDAY
Decision day in the Mats Sundin sweepstakes seems to have been finally set.
Mike Gillis, General Manager of the Vancouver Canucks, met with the media Tuesday afternoon, revealing that the heavily sought forward
will have a verdict on where he’ll play this season in two days.
“He’s going to make a decision on Thursday about the final destination and we reiterated our position in all of this and formalized our offer moving forward,” said Gillis, who has met with J.P. Barry, Sundin’s agent, numerous times over the past few weeks.
“We feel good about our team and where we sit and what we have to offer and we’ll see how it plays out.”
Sundin, a 17-year NHL veteran and former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, is currently home in Sweden, according to Gillis, analyzing what his best move would be, playing for the Canucks or the New York Rangers.
“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 explained of Sundin’s current thought process.
Upwards of 10 teams expressed interest in Sundin on July 1 when free agency began for this season, and after taking a close look at all the teams involved, the 37-year-old narrowed his list down to Vancouver and New York last week.
As recent as Monday, reports were flying out of Toronto that Sundin had chosen the Rangers and that he would call New York home for the remainder of the season, but that’s simply not the case, said Gillis.
It’s all speculation and the only thing Gillis believes is what he hears from Sundin himself.
“We wouldn’t be going through this process if a decision had been made,” said Gillis. “Every time I’ve spoken with Mats he’s conducted himself with the utmost integrity, he’s very careful about what he says and I find it difficult to believe that after going through this process that we wouldn’t get a clear indication from the outset as to what he planned.
“I have tremendous respect for the guy and I just don’t think he would be leaking anything out about what his plans were without coming to us first, because we’ve been here since day one." OUT OF CONTEXT
Darcy Hordichuk’s locker was the hot spot after practice on Tuesday with the pressing buzzing about the comment regarding Trevor Linden following Sunday’s game.
Hordichuk scored Vancouver’s first goal in a 5-3 win over Florida, after the game he was asked about his jovial fist pump celebration and he said the following:
"We need energy and we're having fun out there. Everybody gets everybody going by having a little bit of a celebration. I think when Trevor Linden was here not too many guys were celebrating or were allowed to. It's all about fun and when we're winning we're having fun."
On Tuesday Hordichuk was quick to offer an explanation
regarding his comments, specifically that they were taken out of context and that he has great admiration for Linden.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Trevor Linden,” said Hordichuk. “Not until I got the opportunity to play here did I see how great of a guy he is, what he’s done for this organization, what he’s done in the community, for his charity, he’s just a standup guy and somebody that I think we all admire.
“Being in Canada, I think sometimes things get taken out of context a little bit. All I meant is guys like me don’t score a lot of goals, so when I do score a goal I like to celebrate. I think the older generations of guys, when they score they know in two or three games they’re going to probably get another goal. When they celebrate they just put their stick up, sometimes when you look at the celebrations I’ve done, I’m maybe a little overboard, but I didn’t mean anything by it.
“It upsets me that this was taken so out of context,” added Hordichuk. “How can you say anything bad about Trevor Linden?” DEFENCEMEN ABSENT & WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S STARTING GOALIE
Two Canucks were missing from practice on Tuesday, namely Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo
Ohlund didn’t take part due to a “personal issue that he had to take care of,” coach Vigneault said, while Salo has come down with the flu and didn’t feel up to practicing.
Vigneault also said that goaltender Curtis Sanford will play against the Oilers on Wednesday. TREVOR LINDEN NIGHT
Speaking of Linden, the Canucks will retire his #16 on Wednesday evening and even though the team has a significant divisional game against the Edmonton Oilers to focus on, it’s important that they take the time to pay tribute to their former captain.
“He was unbelievable,” said Burrows of Linden. “I got the chance to sit beside him at my locker and we spoke everyday about stuff and he taught me a lot. He’s an awesome guy and tomorrow night should be an awesome night and it’ll be a lot of fun.”
Wednesday’s pre-game ceremonies began at 6 p.m. with game-time slated for 7:30 p.m. Normally Burrows and company would be going through their own pre-game rituals from 6 to 7, but they know how important this night is to Linden and they plan on supporting him.
“I’ll be watching, Trevor deserves it,” added Burrows.
“It is a huge game, but obviously it’s a huge night too. We’ve got all day today and tomorrow to focus on Edmonton and we know that we can play better, we know the things we’ve got to improve from last game, but then before the game for a little bit we’ll celebrate Trevor and afterwards we’ll come back here, focus, regroup and make sure that we’re ready to go.”