In the National Hockey League's version of the Brett Favre saga, new reports surfaced last week that indicated a possible Sundin return in mid-December. At this point in this merry-go-round story, one question begs to be answered: Does anyone care anymore?
True fans of hockey care. The Big Swede has spent the better part of the last two decades dazzling fans on the ice and being ever so gracious off of it. In a society dominated by limousine crotch shots, bad boy celebrities, and airhead blondes, Sundin has always stood out for the right reasons.
In the hockey hotbed that is Toronto, one can liken the media onslaught faced by Sundin on a daily basis to that which Paris Hilton would receive after a night of drunken debauchery.
Always in the spotlight, and always under a microscope, Sundin was a true gentlemen. Endearing to Leaf fans across the world, Sundin's big smile on the ice and clever wit off of it provided fans exactly what they needed, night in and night out. Anyone who has watched the big Swede score a goal over the last 17 years has that big toothy grin indelibly etched into their memories.
For fans today to complain about his indecisiveness is unfair. Stating time and again that he wanted nothing more than to finish his career in the city he loved, the Toronto Maple Leafs nevertheless pushed, poked, and prodded last season for Mats to drop his no-trade clause.
Etiquette apparently a foreign concept to the Silver Fox that is Cliff Fletcher, the attempt to dump Sundin understandably left a bitter taste in the captain's mouth. After 13 years wearing the historic Maple Leaf, one can only wonder how difficult the decision to come back and wear a different sweater must be.
To return at this point in the season, Sundin's impact would greatly depend on where he landed. A Cup contender would absolutely receive a boost in their bid for Lord Stanley's mug. On a team like Toronto, filled with young and impressionable skaters, Sundin's influence would undoubtedly further their development and help to mold a winner in the years to come.
As a true fan of hockey, and a long time supporter of Mats Sundin, I can only hope that he has the opportunity to lace up the skates at least one more time. If only to hear that beautiful phrase, "Goal scored by No. 13, Mats Sundin".