Antropov: Sundin a great teacher

Former Leaf Captain Mats Sundin speaks at Real sports in Toronto Feb. 6 2012. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

Former Leaf Captain Mats Sundin speaks at Real sports in Toronto Feb. 6 2012. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:14 PM ET

When Nik Antropov came to the Maple Leafs in 1999-2000 as a shy newcomer from Kazakhstan, Mats Sundin was there to help him adjust to North American life.

The transplanted Winnipeg Jet couldn’t be happier that Sundin’s No. 13 banner will be raised on Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, prior to the Leafs’ game against the Montreal Canadiens.

“Obviously, he was a great role model for everyone he played with, from old guys to young guys,” Antropov said Tuesday. “I learned a lot from him on ice and off the ice. The way he takes care of people, I haven’t seen so many guys do that. The Toronto market is tough to play in, and some guys were hiding from the media and stuff like that.

“He was a great person and a great hockey player. I talk to him once or twice a year through e-mail.”

Tuesday, Sundin took part in an autograph signing and public interview session at the Leafs’ Real Sports Apparel downtown store.

BURKIE AND THE JETS

When Toronto general manager Brian Burke welcomed “our brethren” from Winnipeg back to the National Hockey League at last summer’s draft, he had a housewarming present. Toronto executives gave the Jets permission to use a red maple leaf as part of their main fighter plane sweater design. Though the national symbol can’t really be owned by anyone, as far as the NHL was concerned it was Toronto’s property and the Leafs needed to sign off on it before the Jets were rebranded.

“We owe a great deal of thanks to the Leafs, because that is obviously a very, very important image for them,” Jets chairman Mark Chipman said at the time.

“They graciously granted us their permission to use it as we have.”

Burke and Chipman are friends from when the Vancouver Canucks based their Manitoba Moose farm team in Winnipeg a decade ago.

It’s expected the Jets will have a third jersey in 2012-13 that emulates the last design prior to that team’s departure for Phoenix in 1996.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Investors Group Field is quickly taking shape on the outskirts of Winnipeg near the University of Manitoba. With seating for more than 33,000 for the CFL Blue Bombers, it’s no secret that the Jets soon will propose hosting an NHL outdoor game along the lines of a Canadian-based Heritage Classic. Their preference for a partner team would be the Leafs.

Presumably, cold weather won’t be an issue.

LOOSE LEAFS

During one of their busiest stretches of the season, the Leafs did not have a morning skate on Tuesday in Winnipeg and were planning a light off day on Wednesday in Philadelphia ... Every game at the MTS Centre this season is a sellout of 15,004 ... Following the lead of the Leafs and other Canadian teams, the Jets are going to a reception at the embassy in Washington prior to playing the Capitals this week. Canadian ambassador Gary Doer is a former Manitoba premier ... With the Jets scoring just six times in six games before Tuesday, radio voice Dennis Beyak took some ribbing from Winnipeg writers for not being able to let loose with very many loud goal calls during games. “He practices those in the warm-up to stay sharp,” quipped a scribe.


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