January 07 2009 09:49AM
After seven months of drama, 4,397 stories on TSN/Sportsnet and 1,298,375,984 blogs on the subject, Mats Sundin will make his triumphant return to the ice against your Mighty Edmonton Oilers tonight.
Sundin will be playing alongside Kyle Wellwood and Mason Betha and will be expected by most delusional Canucks fans to bring the entire NHL to it’s knees within moments of stepping on the surface of RX1.
You will forgive us if we don’t share the same enthusiasm or hope for a guy who will be 38 in February. Sure, Sundin is a remarkably steady NHL player having scored 37, 31, 31, 27 and 32 goals in his past five full seasons. But he was drafted the year that Sam Gagner was born and that makes him, oh what’s the word here:
Old and cranky as evidenced by his dithering and wavering for months on end, while Canucks GM Mike Gillis sat and waited for word on his generous two-year $20 million contract offer. If someone offered us $20 million to do anything including being the "hair eater at Eveline Charles" we would say yes so fast it would make your head explode. But not ol' Mats. That's not his style.
First Sundin debated whether he wanted to suit up in the NHL ever again. Then he pondered which team best suited his skills and had the best chance at giving him a shot at ye olde Stanley Cup. Then he decided to sit on the decision until even the most ardent talking heads at Sportsnet were tired of talking about the issue and the season was almost half over.
And then, just when no one really had the energy or interest to care anymore -- he decided.
For a guy who famously quipped that he didn’t "want to become a rental player" his one-year deal for a pro-rated $8.26 million seems exactly that. We seriously doubt that the Canucks would be considered odds-on-favorites this year by anyone living outside of a 10-block radius of GM Place and a one-year deal under isn’t exactly an assurance that he is arriving to build much of anything long term.
For a guy with $74,042,632 in career earnings -- big ups to Deep Oil (incredibly) -- it can’t be the money though that brought him back, can it? How many IKEA Ormsorgs and ABBA box sets does one need exactly? Doesn’t appearing in a string of unbelievably bad Pokerstars ads pay as well as we would guess it does?
Perhaps one of you genius citizens of the Nation can explain the logic of his signing to us. Explain slowly for as it has been pointed out repeatedly we have the intelligence of a three-year-old who doesn’t pay attention.
Either way, we are sick and tired of smelling/seeing/hearing about Mats Sundin’s signing drama-rama every time we turn on the TV. Now we can settle in to a non stop barrage of 24/7 Sundin coverage as he skates to a measly 15 goals and the Canucks bow out of the first round.