August 05, 2008
At this point, the Mats Sundin saga needs a Brett Favre twist to make things interesting and yet even more nauseating at the same time. Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, two aging superstars are contemplating the same kind of decision -- yet their absence from the Toronto media's vision cone has allowing them the space needed to contemplate committing for another season.
Joe Sakic and Teemu Selanne are two unrestricted free agents currently staring down the decision to come back for one more year or to hang up their skates for good. Unlike Sundin, both are champions and can walk away from the game knowing that they've reached the pinnacle of their profession. But will they?
Selanne has not been heard from since the Anaheim Ducks' season ended prematurely at the hands of the Dallas Stars and according to Curtis Zupke of the Orange County Register, general manager Brian Burke and coach Randy Carlyle are in the dark as much as we are:
Burke and Carlyle said they have not heard from Selanne, who is deciding whether to return for another season." I have not heard from Teemu," Burke said. "If anyone spots him, please ask him to call me."
Sakic on the other hand has been in the news a bit this off-season, stating he's still deciding between a 20th season and retirement. That hasn't stopped theories from floating around about Super Joe's future.
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater wrote that Sakic specifically asked Colorado coach Joel Quenneville to put him on the ice in the waning moments of Game 4 against Detroit, and also wondered if the game had passed Sakic by:
"The thing that makes me wonder a little more whether he'll retire, though, is this: I wonder if Sakic was maybe a little scared by this last series, at how much better Datsyuk and Zetterberg were than him or anyone else up front on the Avs. They just zipped past anybody on the ice, including No. 19, and when a great player no longer feels he can dominate any opponent anymore, no matter who they are, they lose the thing inside that made them the best in the first place. Guys like Sakic don't want to be just another guy out there. When they think that is starting to happen, some walk away quicker than others, and I know Sakic is not going to be like Willie Mays or John Unitas, hanging on for that one year too long, or just for the money."
Both players are unrestricted free agents who are not bound to any team, but in reality they are key members of squads that will only be improved by their presence. You don't want to force guys to make a decision on the rest of their hockey playing lives, but you have to wonder if the Ducks and Colorado Avalanche might have approached the off-season differently knowing in advance whether or not Selanne and Sakic would be in their lineups come October.
I would love to see both back for at least one more season. I'm also hoping if Sakic does come back, we get to see him throw some shots like he did at Doug Gilmour.