Puck Daddy - NHL

My head is freshly shorn. I have a stack of Dolph Lundgren DVDs near the flat screen. ("Masters of the Universe," why do you tease me so?)

Puck Daddy HQ is filled with the smell of fresh herring, the crock pot is stuffed with meatballs and we've got enough lingonberry jam to choke Mats Wilander.

How are you celebrating Mats Sundin Soft Deadline Day, this most joyous of days for fans of both hockey and speedy decision making?

Wait ... his agent JP Barry said what now?

"He did that interview in Sweden and everyone kind of pulled on that [Aug. 1] ...Unfortunately, they pulled on a translation. He is not going to decide Aug. 1. People got stuck on the Aug. 1 and it was really just the month of August."

Oh ... crap. Cancel the ABBA tribute band.

The Mats Sundin Saga seems to be pulling in two completely different directions: NHL teams tugging the former Toronto Maple Leafs star back to the League, and Sundin pulling the covers over his bald skull to continue his nap.

His representation is letting the world know that there are five other teams competing with the Vancouver Canucks' $10 million-a-year bribe for Sundin's services. Waiting for Stanley believes the longer this game goes, the worse it is for Vancouver.

GM Mike Gillis told the Vancouver Sun that his team hasn't been too affected by Mats's indecision -- at least not yet. "I knew there would be a grace period where not a whole lot would happen in the NHL and we're in the middle of that period," he said. "I think when things begin to happen and, if we don't have a clear idea of where we're headed [on Sundin] at that point, I think maybe we'll get a little more frustrated."

Sorry, but frustration isn't an option. Once you're in the Sundin Derby, you're on Mats Time. His defenders believe "a hasty decision would be the wrong one," because we're dealing with an aging star deciding whether or not to shine on. And one report out of Sweden seems to indicate that the shine is certainly off.

Paul Hunter of the Toronto Star dropped this nugget today:

While Sundin has remained mum on his future, observers in Sweden say his actions speak loudly. For about the past 15 years, Sundin has been the organizer of informal summer skates among NHL players based in Sweden. Those workouts are set to begin Aug. 11 at the Globen Arena.

Normally, this is when Sundin would be working the phones, making sure his countrymen know about the available ice. This summer, however, that task has fallen to someone else and Sundin, though he is in Stockholm, isn't expected to attend. "He's not working out. It doesn't seem like he plans to, he's just golfing," said one source.

Thank god he's actually golfing. I thought it was entirely possible Sundin has been staring at the menu at a Swedish fast food establishment for the last six weeks, unable to pick a value meal.

In other parts of MatsLand:

Adrian Dater of the Denver Post, on the possibility Sundin comes to the Colorado Avalanche to replace a retiring Joe Sakic: "If Sakic did quit, I don't think Mats would want to come here, just based on that. He IS a good friend of Our Joe, and if he quit, Sundin would lose that connection, not to mention play for a worse team.

From J.T. of The H Does Not Stand for Habs, with a Montreal Canadiens fan's perspective on Sundin Soft Deadline Day: "Only one thing seems certain today, and that's that Sundin will have chosen a team by the time this month is over. Or not. He could retire."

• Finally, the Newfoundland Islander on Mats to the New York Rangers: "The last thing I want is to see number 13 in a Rangers sweater - for two reasons. The first is obvious, I hate the Rangers, but the second reason is I love Mats Sundin. He's been one of my favorite players for years - he's tough, smart, enormously skilled, and unbelievably competitive. He's a fantastic leader and the consummate team player..... but if he plays for the Rangers, well, his name becomes mud."

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