BOSTON -- There was surprisingly little disappointment in the Maple Leafs dressing room last night with the news that the team's longtime captain, Mats Sundin, has signed with the Vancouver Canucks.
"It was his decision and I believe everyone here respects that," said Alexei Ponikarovsky, Sundin's former linemate. "I'm happy for him and basically we're going to go on with our team."
"Mats Sundin is one of the greatest players to play the game and that's obviously a big plus for the Vancouver Canucks," winger Jason Blake said. "Not only is he a great player, but a phenomenal leader. It's a happy day for Vancouver."
Head coach Ron Wilson agreed with new president and general manager Brian Burke that Sundin and the 2008-09 Leafs were not a match, while getting in a little shot at the Canucks at the same time.
"We're not a fit for Mats right now, we're not going to win the Stanley Cup this year. And I don't know if Vancouver is either, to be perfectly honest with you," Wilson said. "But he's gone to a place where he's probably feeling comfortable because of the Sedins (Swedish twins Daniel and Henrik)."
Burke thanked Sundin for his 13 seasons as a Leaf.
"People shouldn't lose sight of the fact that he was a warrior for us. He did some great things and he'll go down as one of the great Leaf players, and I wish him well in Vancouver," Burke said.
The Leafs already have played their game in Vancouver this season (Nov. 15), but the Canucks visit the Air Canada Centre on Feb. 21.
"I hope he gets a good reception," Burke said. "I know the people are disappointed with the way things ended for Mats Sundin, but he was great player in Toronto and I hope he gets treated that way."