Salming helped keep Sundin in T.O.

TERRY KOSHAN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

A conversation with Borje Salming a couple of days ago did not cement Mats Sundin's decision to stay in Toronto, but it helped put it in place.

"We had a long discussion about all of this," Sundin said of the chat with his fellow Swede. "It was nice to talk to someone, even though his situation was different. His regret was that he did not finish his career as a Toronto Maple Leaf. That is the feeling I had (that he would have regretted leaving)."

Salming was an NHL pioneer, helping to set up a pipeline to the NHL from Europe during a 16-season tenure with the Leafs. But he spent his final NHL season, 1989-90 with the Detroit Red Wings, after signing with the club as a free agent.

Another native of Sweden, Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, said he would have come to a similar conclusion had he been in Sundin's shoes.

"You dream about winning a Stanley Cup here in Ottawa," Alfredsson said. "That's what drives you in the summer and I would have had a hard time seeing myself playing somewhere else. I don't know if that is the way he is thinking, but that could be one of the reasons."

Senators centre Jason Spezza said he was glad Sundin chose to remain in Toronto because it meant the Leafs captain would not be traded to a possible playoff opponent for Ottawa.

PONI DERAILED

The Leafs faced the Senators last night without Alexei Ponikarovsky, who suffered a rib injury against the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday night.

"He is going to be at least a week," coach Paul Maurice said. "There's a chance he plays Saturday (in Washington against the Capitals), but not in either of the Florida games (tomorrow against the Panthers and Friday versus the Lightning)."

Robbie Earl was recalled from the Marlies to fill Ponikarovsky's spot. In five games with the Leafs prior to last night, Earl had one assist.


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