1) For those who haven't been following the Maple Leafs-vs- Mats Sundin saga, (where the hell have ya been.) It sounds almost like divorce proceedings than a long time player about to move on to a new team. There are hurt feelings and accusations of betrayal, and possibly a new suitor(a long time rival) for Mats. Of course anything that takes place in Toronto and is hockey related is bound to get more than a little over blown.
2) To review, Mats Sundin is the all time Toronto point getter. The 37 year old Bromma, Sweden native has played in TO since a 1993-1994 offseason deal that brought him from Quebec. For the mathematically challenged that's 13 seasons (one lost due to the last Bettman lockout) The former 1st pick overall in 1989 has accumulated 555 goals and 1321 points, a large majority with the Leafs. He has been the team's captain for quite a number of seasons and has chosen to stay when he had the option to leave on many occasions.
3) Despite all that loyalty/accomplishment, the team and its fans were still upset when Mats decided he would exercise his contractual right to stay in Toronto. He apparently didn't want to uproot himself down the stretch by agreeing to waive his no trade clause. At the time the Leafs still had a shot at the post season themselves, though it wasn't likely. They did make a brief run at it in late March. but fell well short. New GM Cliff Fletcher cajoled the big Swede up until the deadline, hoping to convince him it was in every one's best interest. Fletcher had many potential suitors and the leafs would have been given a small king's ransom for the rental of Sundin. He saw it as the first step towards rebuilding the team. Alas, Mats didn't budge and the ill feelings began to fester. Articles were leaked out by the Leaf management(Fletcher) and it became apparent that it was unlikely that Mats would return to the Leafs next fall.
4) Recently we have heard conflicting stories that his 'rights' were traded/given to Montreal or the Rangers in hopes that one of those teams would be able to sign Sundin before he was available to everyone come July. It appears that won't happen, but it would have been the final needle in the eye to Maple Leaf supporters if Mats had signed with the hated rival Habs. (Imagine Derek Jeter signing with the RedSox?) Its a sad ending to what should have been a glorious exit to a fine tenure with the Leafs. (Perhaps if they had won a Cup things would be a bit different?) In any case, as with any divorce there will be bitterness and sharply worded statements in the upcoming weeks. We are fairly certain that once tempers calm, in time, Mats' #13 sweater will be hanging a top the AC rafters. He's earned that respect regardless of how his career proceeds from here!