Circle The Calendars: Mats Sundin's Return to Toronto

Derek HarmsworthSenior Writer IDecember 16, 2008

Mats Sundin will return to Toronto.  He will dress in an Air Canada Centre locker room.  He will take morning skate, pre-game skate, and ultimately will play on Air Canada Centre ice again, like he has so many times before.

Only this time, he will be a New York Ranger.

If reports are to be believed, and they keep coming from more and more reliable sources, then former Maple Leafs captain and free agent Mats Sundin will end up on Broadway with the Rangers, and while that is bad news for the rest of the Eastern Conference, it puts to rest months of speculation regarding whether or not Mats would play again, and for whom.

It also brings closure and finality to the Maple Leafs and their fans.  Some of which still maintained to the very end that until Mats was signed, there was still a chance he would return to Toronto.

It isn't just closure you can hear or feel.  It's also closure you can see.

While this season has had it's ups and downs for the Maple Leafs, the first half has yielded some memorable games for the Blue and White.  In the second half, none will be more memorable, or more exciting than a four-day, two game home-and-home between the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New York Rangers, likely to have their big new Swedish addition in tow.

Our first glimpse of Mats, should he sign with New York, will be Sunday February 22nd when Rogers Sportsnet in Canada will air the first half of the home-and-home, a game in Madison Square Garden, and Mats' first against his old club.

Then comes the biggie. 

On February 25th, what is likely to be a cold Wednesday in Toronto, things will heat up in a big way as Mats Sundin returns to the Air Canada Centre for the first time wearing the jersey of the enemy in a game televised nationally on TSN.

It will remain one of the biggest, and most debated Maple Leafs story of my time. 

Some still feel resent and anger towards Mats, a player who had he accepted a trade, would have set the wheels in motion for a rebuild and given the Leafs a very good start in the process.

Others will point to his class, and how he handled himself in Toronto, both on and off the ice.  He was a class act, and gave the Maple Leafs, and it's fans, everything he had.

So how will the crowd react on that fateful night in February when Mats takes to the ice wearing a Broadway Blueshirt?  Some will cheer.  Some will boo.  Some will give him a standing ovation I am sure.

But you know what you should really do?

Go to StubHub and TicketsNow and grab a pair of seats before Mats signs officially and the prices are tripled.