Sundin refuses to ponder future

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

Mats Sundin said he has not been thinking about waiving his no-trade clause but would give the idea some hard thought if Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson asks him to do so in the next couple of days.

"Until then I am not going to think about it," Sundin said yesterday when he was pressed on the issue. "I have not even thought about it."

But Sundin also knows that kind of question might not come from Ferguson at all, and there probably is no chance of such a conversation if the Leafs beat the Montreal Canadiens tonight. However, if the Habs win to put the Leafs farther away in their rearview mirror, Ferguson could open that door.

Sundin will be paid $6.3 million US next season in the final year of a contract he signed in 2001.

Though it's believed Ferguson will try to move some of his bigger-name players in the event of a loss tonight, Sundin, sounding not unlike the captain who won't abandon his ship, does not think that would be the right course of action.

Blow up the team if it goes badly tonight? Don't do it.

"I don't think so," Sundin said. "I think we're still in a position where we can make it into the playoffs. We have a good enough team to make it into the playoffs. The previous years we have seen Calgary and some other teams just make it in and end up making it to the Stanley Cup finals. That is how fine the line is. There is no reason why we can't make it into the playoffs."

No current Leaf has been with the club longer than Sundin, who was acquired from the Quebec Nordiques in June 1994. He reached the pinnacle of international hockey just nine days ago when he played a major role in Sweden's capturing of the gold medal at the Olympics in Turin. Of course, there is nothing he wants more than getting a Stanley Cup ring while captain of the Leafs.

And he said with a straight face it was not depressing to return to the Leafs' fragile situation after such a high.

"I am very happy to come home," the 35-year-old said. "I am very proud to represent the Toronto Maple Leafs. We have a great group of guys here. We have had our struggles this year but we are going to do everything we can to make it into the playoffs and I am very proud to be part of this group."


Photos