Sundin will play the waiting game

BRUCE GARRIOCH

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

BOSTON -- Will Mats Sundin stay or will he go?

That's what Maple Leafs fan are going to be left to ponder as another season has slipped by without much on-ice success.

One thing is certain: Sundin is going to keep people waiting for his decision on whether he'll re-sign with the Leafs, go somewhere else or simply retire and get ready for his induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Many NHL insiders believe after what's been a taxing season full of disappointment, Sundin might decide to hang up his sweater and walk away, comfortable in the fact he's had a tremendous career.

Given all the bluster about not wanting to be dealt at the trade deadline, it would seem unlikely that Sundin would sign elsewhere unless Detroit D Nicklas Lidstrom and fellow Swede does a full-court press to get him to sign with the Red Wings.

Sundin has never moved quickly in terms of deciding his future. When interim GM Cliff Fletcher finally got around to asking Sundin about waiving his no-trade clause before the deadline, Sundin took as much time as he could before making a decision.

But many believe there's no way Sundin should retire. He's coming off a strong campaign this season and appears to have plenty left in the tank.

You'd think he'd want to go out with a playoff run under his belt, wouldn't you?

AROUND THE BOARDS

Tampa coach John Tortorella raised a few eyebrows when he stated after a 3-1 victory over the Panthers this week: "I make no bones about it, I'm not crazy about (the Panthers) organization, so I don't mind that at all. It looks good on them." That left some wondering if Tortorella has an axe to grind with Florida president Michael Yormark, who spent four years in the Bolts organization ... Anaheim D Scott Niedermayer has already declared he's not willing to discuss next season. Ducks GM Brian Burke has warned Niedermayer he won't go through what happened this season. Many NHL sources say Niedermayer will shut it down for good after the playoffs ... If the Leafs decide to go with a two-pronged system to replace fired GM John Ferguson Jr., then it's possible agent Don Meehan will get consideration for the president's post. The Leafs have Burke on their list of candidates they'd like to speak with this summer.

OFF THE GLASS

The Capitals have had exploratory talks with Steve Bartlett, the agent for G Cristobal Huet. There haven't been any numbers exchanged and the sides have only agreed to speak at the appropriate time, but Huet, who is making $3 million (all terms US) this season and was dealt to the Caps at the deadline, is going to cash in this summer. He could do that with the Caps, but the Senators, Kings, Flyers and Thrashers may all have interest in the Frenchman's services. It would be hard to guess what Huet might get on the free-agent market. Naturally, this will likely spell the end of G Olaf Kolzig in Washington ... Anybody else sad to see the way the saga with Vancouver G Roberto Luongo and the birth of his child played out? The way some media and fans have reacted is embarrassing ... The relationship between the NHL Players' Association and agents could be about to change. Paul Kelly, the NHLPA's new executive director, held a meeting with the certified agents last week in Toronto. At the end, they all gave him a round of applause. That's not something that happened when Ted Saskin was in charge. Speaking of Saskin, people are wondering why was he so quick to settle on $400,000 of the $6.5 million remaining on his contract?

RUMOURS DU JOUR

If Tortorella gets bounced in the off-season, and that's a strong possibility with Tampa's ownership changing hands, he won't be out of work long. It's believed the Flyers, Islanders and Senators are ready to at least speak to Tortorella if he becomes available. He will coach Team USA at the world championship next month in Halifax and Quebec City ... Chicago G Patrick Lalime, who was nominated for the Masterton Trophy, could be looking for work again this summer. Lalime will be an unrestricted free agent and it's doubtful he'll be brought back to the Blackhawks ... Talk won't go away that Joe Nieuwendyk is going to be taking over in Florida if coach and GM Jacques Martin is fired. Everybody assumes Martin won't be back, but be warned: Panthers owner Alan Cohen is unpredictable ... The Islanders have agreed to hold off having talks with RW Miroslav Satan until the end of the season. He is set to become a UFA on July 1 ... This might be the end of the line for Panthers captain Olli Jokinen in Florida. He hasn't been the leader everybody expected. He'll either be dealt or possibly stripped of the 'C' in the off-season. How many playoff games has he played in his career? None. That says enough ... Another hot commodity on the coaching front: Colorado bench boss Joel Quenneville. He hasn't been offered a new deal by the Avs and could become available. Smartest move he made this year was putting Milan Hejduk-Peter Forsberg-Paul Statsny together on a line ... Chicago will make a pitch for D Brian Campbell if he hits the market on July 1, but everybody is betting he'll stay with the Sharks ... The Bolts will likely buy out G Marc Denis. No surprise ... If the Senators do exercise their right to buy out G Ray Emery at one-third of the $6.75 million on his contract -- which is what's expected to happen -- will any other team show any interest in him? The Blackhawks did their homework on Emery at the deadline and decided to pass on making a deal for him.

Have a nice Sunday.


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