Gainey chats up Sundin

… for two hours, according to a diligent blogger’s account of a public appearance Gainey made in St. John’s. If you want to see a rare, useful example of “citizen journalism,” check it out. According to the blogger, known to her readers as J.T., Gainey laid it on the line for Mats during a meeting Saturday in Toronto: “I told him to make a decision. I said, if you feel like you want to retire, then retire. But if you’re not sure, you should play and the emotion will come.”

That’s an echo of Steve Yzerman’s publicly proffered advice of five weeks ago. Which, of course, Sundin ignored.

Everyone says Sundin can’t be pressured. Maybe not, but Gainey sounded upbeat, by this account, and that may have a lot to do with some nasty comments directed Sundin’s way by the Leafs’ new coach, Ron Wilson, last week. According to the Star’s Rosie DiManno, the big galoot looked genuinely surprised by Wilson’s broadside on the Leafs’ leadership last year. I think we can safely subtract Toronto from the list of teams who might persuade him to return.

Moreover, it will be hard for Sundin to let this drag on through training camp, given previous remarks he’s made about the season beginning in, er, training camp. If he’s going to be part of the Canadiens’ centennial season—a real part of it—it won’t do to show up at Christmas. Is he about to make his call?

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.