Mats Sundin may have been showing flashes of brilliance on the golf course in his native Sweden, but the veteran centre showed no signs of making a decision on his playing future in the National Hockey League.
In an exclusive interview with Sportsnet while playing at a golf tournament hosted by Peter Forsberg in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, Sundin once again refused to confirm whether he will retire or return for an 18th NHL season.
“I haven’t decided yet,” Sundin said. “I think sometime in August I hope to come to a conclusion on what I’m going to do — if I’m going to play or not this year.”
The 37-year-old unrestricted free agent also reiterated that he has no deadline for a final decision.
“I never had a deadline,” Sundin added. “I know there was talk about first of August, but I never said. I said sometime in August hopefully I’ll be able to make a decision. I won’t make that until I really feel comfortable with making a good decision.”
While Sundin’s agent, J.P. Barry, recently confirmed that there were as many as six NHL teams showing legitimate interest in the veteran centre, Sundin said that wasn’t playing a role in his decision-making process.
“I haven’t even worried about any teams,” Sundin insisted. “I’m just trying to bring my mind to a point where I can make a good decision whether or not I’m going to play hockey right now. That’s my first decision and we’ll go from there after that.”
While many NHL players across the league have already begun their on-ice workouts in preparation for training camps and the pre-season schedule, Sundin doesn’t think the drawing out of his decision will hurt his conditioning should he decide to return.
“I stay in shape,” Sundin said. “I work out all the time so I’m not worried about the conditioning part.”
Sundin recorded 78 points (32 goals, 46 assists) in 74 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. Despite posting impressive individual numbers, Sundin couldn’t captain the Leafs into the post-season, the third time in as many seasons the Blue & White missed the playoffs.
The Leafs, Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens have all confirmed their interest in luring the veteran centre back for the 2008-09 season.