Call it hockey blasphemy.
Mats Sundin wearing the fabled bleu blanc et rouge of the rival Montreal Canadiens?
Or worse, the red-white-and-black of the Ottawa Senators, the provincial foes of the Maple Leafs?
"I couldn't imagine him with the Habs or Ottawa," forward Matt Stajan said yesterday.
Sundin's Maple Leaf teammates do not want him to waive the no-trade clause in his contract but admit it is the captain's decision. If he does opt to take that route, however, none of them would like to see him in a Habs or Senators jersey.
Anything but that.
"It wouldn't be right," Wade Belak said. "It would be tough to imagine. Right now just thinking about the possibility of him leaving is tough to digest."
Asked if Sundin is going through a tough time right now, coach Paul Maurice said no.
"I think he's in a great situation," coach Maurice said. "Every day he wakes up he's Mats Sundin. To me that's a pretty good life."
Interestingly, tonight's game against the Atlanta Thrashers is the final home date before the Tuesday trade deadline, causing some to wonder if this will be the final Leaf appearance at the Air Canada Centre for the likes of Sundin, Bryan McCabe and Nik Antropov, among others.
Sundin, G Andrew Raycroft and D McCabe all missed practice because of the flu ... Pavel Kubina is the only Leaf with a no-trade clause who has not yet been approached by GM Cliff Fletcher ... An internet report suggests there is a long-term deal on the table for Anaheim Ducks GM Brian Burke to leave after this season and become the Maple Leafs GM, with a possible six-year deal in the works. Just one problem with that scenario: If a deal already is on the table, that would constitute tampering, since the season is still going on ... Various reports suggest the New York Islanders, Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers are interested in McCabe while Anaheim, Ottawa and Detroit were among those inquiring about Tucker. Both don't want to waive their no trade clauses ... Thrashers GM Don Waddell reportedly held talks with the representatives of free-agent-to-be Marian Hossa yesterday.