Mats is becoming a mystery

STEVE SIMMONS

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

The longer we know Mats Sundin, the less we seem to know about him.

Every time he speaks now, there is reason for suspicion, if not doubt. And as he held court for the first time at the opening of Maple Leafsí training camp, Sundin indicated he didnít want to be traded but ďif the organization wants to move you, you have no real choice.Ē

Thatís nice of him to say. Itís also somewhat inaccurate.

You see, Sundin has a no-trade arrangement in his contract with the Leafs. They canít trade him without his approval under any circumstances.

This is the final year of his guaranteed contract ó some will tell you the final year he will play ó and the Leafs have to make a determination at the end of the season whether they wish to exercise an option for the following season.

The unusual double talk by the historically private Sundin just adds to the wonder about whether he really wants to play here anymore ó and whether anything he says can be completely believed.

This and that

Another Sundin question: If this is, in fact, his last season in Toronto, who becomes the Leafs building block forward forward for the future? Resumes accepted. There are no current candidates ... The Leafs made sweeping changes this off season, bringing in a new goalie, two new defencemen, a big-league centre and get this, a brand new team dentist ... Anybody ever made more headlines and played less than Carlo Colaiacovo? ... Doug Gilmour had to hold his nose just a little to take a job working with John Ferguson Jr. Ferguson had to hold his nose just a little to hire Gilmour, whom he previously ordered off Leaf ice. But each needs the other. Gilmour wants to edge his way back into the hockey business and Ferguson needs to do something to alter his tattered reputation ... You canít question what Bobby Clarke did in the attempted signing of Ryan Kesler. You question why more hockey general managers havenít attacked other teams rosters similarly?

Hear and there

This has to be interpreted as good news for the Blue Jays: There is so much unrest with the Texas Rangers that Vernon Wellsí good friend, Michael Young, is indicating he wonít re-sign with the team a year from now. Previously it had been assumed that Wells wanted to leave the Jays for his hometown team and to play with his buddy. Knowing Wells, the last team he would be keen to play for was one that featured internal strife ... The Dave Stieb season of misfortune continues for Roy Halladay. Guy should have 20 wins by now without the Stieb-like breaks going against him ... While Aaron Hill is the only J.P. Ricciardi draft pick to make an impact for the Jays, it should be noted that picks were used to acquire Shea Hillenbrand (thus Jeremy Accardo), Lyle Overbay, Brian Tallet and John McDonald. The Overbay deal, long term though, might turn out to be regrettable with pitchers David Bush, already an 11-game winner, and Zach Jackson considered the future in Milwaukee ... Right to the finish line, Reed Johnson and Frank Catalanotto have been worth cheering for.

Scene and heard

The dumbest part of the ridiculous Rick DiPietro signing was this: The contracts make the goalie untradeable until at least 2016 ... Jim Balsillie, the Research In Motion blackberry man, is just the latest who wants to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins and move them to Hamilton. There are three major problems, however. One and two happen to be the Buffalo Sabres and Maple Leafs wonít let it happen. Three is that the arena is now barely suitable for NHL business. Other than that, itís a go ... Truth is stranger than fiction: Accordingly to the daily newspaper in Portland, some 40,000 Americans participate in a fantasy fishing league. And I wonder: do they draft the fishermen or the fish? ... Why I hate statistics: After he completes his third pass today, Peyton Manning will have passed Johnny Unitas on the Colts all-time completion list. And that just doesnít seem right ... Why I donít hate statistics: All you need to know about Tom Brady is he has a 59-20 won-loss record as an NFL starting quarterback.

And another thing

Chandra Crawford comes out of nowhere and wins a gold medal in Turin. Anybody seen her since? ... The next time Michelle Wie asks for an exemption into a menís golf tournament, why doesnít someone just say no ... Ryan Howard, who can do just about everything with a bat, canít do much with a glove. Heís committed 15 errors at first base for the Phillies ... Whatís a nice guy like Jason Maas doing in an offence like this ... So when Ricky Williams and John Avery are both healthy, who plays? ... In between sentences, a CFL official threw a flag ... The Raptors have inquired about talking Toni Kukoc out of retirement but the veteran Kukoc wants to play for Chicago if heís going to play at all ... Byron Leftwich objects to criticism that claims heís too slow to play quarterback. ďIím not a slow quarterback,Ē the Jacksonville starter said with a smile. ďIím just the slowest black one.Ē... Time is running out on the former Expo star Vladimir Guerrero, who has DH written all over him ... True story: A man was arrested and charged with criminal impersonation for forging a media credential and getting into the Mets locker room ... And hey, whatever became of Alvin (Skip) Walker?


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