Mats cutting a fine figure

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:29 AM ET

Mats Sundin is sporting a different look these days, much like the team he will captain when a new NHL collective bargaining agreement finally is reached.

With his hair buzzed down to stubble and his body healthy, Sundin said yesterday that a number of familiar faces likely will be gone from the Toronto dressing room once the league resumes play.

He also knows that he likely will be facing a significant pay cut from the $9 million US he was to earn, a salary that made him one of the highest paid players in the sport prior to the lockout.

Sundin accepts the reality that a new NHL will bring. He just wants to play.

"My salary was under the old CBA," said Sundin, who has eluded the public spotlight the past few months. "We all know there will be different rules and we all know we will have to do our part to fit in.

"For the players, including myself, I think we know we all will receive lower pay. I think we all understand that and I think we will all be fine with that."

Sundin acknowledged that friends and teammates such as Tie Domi, Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk will be unrestricted free agents.

"What are there, only about 200 or so guys in the league who are signed?" he said. "That leaves a lot of guys on the market.

Sundin declined an offer to play for Djurgarden of the Swedish elite league in order to allow his battered body time to heal. He also said no to Team Sweden at the world championship.

"I made the right choices," he said."I feel good and healthy because of the time off.

"My priority is the Leafs. We have come close the past four or five seasons and I feel we're ready for the next step."


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