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FTB - Pitchforks and Questions Edition

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There's one story that divides Leafs Nation and its blogging representatives like none other. No, not whether the free pre-season game is a scam because we can all agree that it most certainly is. No, not whether Luke Schenn is our saviour because he is. The most divisive issue of our time is Mats Sundin's future and his legacy.

While most understood Mats' desire to remain a Leaf and not be a rental player at the deadline some were a little upset that despite professing his love for the Leafs he wouldn't throw them a bone and agree to a trade. Some, didn't believe his "I love Toronto so much that I never want to leave" spiel.

After the season ended there was the possibility of his rights being moved before July 1st to at least garner some assets for the Leafs. Tantalizingly, the Habs and Leafs had a deal in place which gave them exclusive negotiating rights but nothing came of that move. A few more started to doubt Mats' "I love Toronto so much that I never want to leave" spiel. The original hard-core mentioned that Sundin loves Toronto so much that he leaves at the end of each season to go back to Sweden.

Once Free Agency started the chance for the Leafs to get any assets for Mats had vanished because there was no way that he would sign without a no-trade clause and a promise to not even bother asking him. But he could still sign with the Leafs at below market rate and at least act as a mentor for all of the kids that the Leafs are trying to integrate into the system. Almost a full month into free agency and Mats has yet to decide and more people are starting to doubt his "I love Toronto so much that I never want to leave" spiel.

Now, this is probably a case of pre-emptive pitchfork sharpening and torch lighting but last year we went through a similarly drawn out episode of waiting for Mats to make up his mind. Towards the end of this year when questions about retirement came up Mats mentioned that he had started training for 2007-2008 the day after the end of the NHL's 2006-2007 playoffs. How come he's taking so much time? Why can't he be like Brett Favre and give us at least a few days of getting used to his absence before diving right back into the daily drama of "Will I? Won't I?".

Vancouver offered him a ridiculous 2 year $20 million dollar contract based on the fact that he could be captain of Sweden in 2010 in front of his home team crowd, the Red Wings apparently chased him before getting tired of his wavering and signed Marion Hossa, and the Habs tried to trick him into believing that last year was anything but a fluke.

However, Canucks and Beyond has a great roundup of a couple of articles (since refuted, of course) from Sweden that seem to indicate that Mats has made up his mind. Now, anyone that follows soccer knows that the 'local newspaper translation announcing imminent signing' angle is hardly new. TFC fans have seen reports in Turkish, English, and various Latin American papers that they had signed players only for the deal to never materialise so this could be the case of Sweden's version of Steve Simmons jumping the gun but it's Sunday so why not discuss it just in case?

On to the links. Add any that you want to share in the comments.