Mats Sundin sparks another round of rampant speculation

We find it no coincidence that news leaked about Mats Sundin beginning a "rigorous period of training to continue his hockey career" on the same day a Swedish hockey game was delayed with a shower of sex toys. Who knew the fear of getting walloped by a projectile dildo was all we needed to get Mats back in the NHL?

The Globe & Mail broke the news early this morning that the 37-year-old former Toronto Maple Leafs captain is on the comeback trail. Again. Or for the first time. We've honestly lost count. From the Globe:

The 37-year-old free-agent centre underwent a physical exam at a Toronto hospital yesterday - necessary to begin a rigorous period of training to continue his hockey career.

Sundin, who spent the past 13 NHL seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, returned to the city last week and soon is expected to travel to Los Angeles to begin a two-week on-ice training stint.

It is believed that after those two weeks are up, he will begin talking to NHL teams to determine the best fit for him.

Globe writer Tim Wharnsby reminds us that Sundin's agent J.P. Barry "believes Sundin will play in 2008-09, but not likely return until December." That gives us, oh, about a week of sweet normalcy between Election Day and the formal start of the Sundin Derby. Cherish it.

The venerable Stan Fischler -- an enormous Puck Daddy fan, as you know -- quotes Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson as saying he believes Mats will return to the Toronto: "Mats has Maple Leafs tattooed all over his body." Wait, even down ... awkward.

Fan 590 radio host and ex-Leafs GM Gord Stellick disagrees: "I don't think the Toronto Maple Leafs want him. I think they've put Mats Sundin behind them and will be happy when he makes the choice to go somewhere else."

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis said he's made Barry "aware that we're still here and he knows how much interest we have." And Barry no doubt has made Gillis aware that he can still see that $20 million offer as clear as he can see the standings.

And then there are the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers, all of whom were somehow connected to the Sundin Derby this summer.

Did the move for Robert Lang signal the end of the Habs' interest? Are the Flyers redeemable this season? Can the Rangers find the cap space? Do they even need Sundin anyway?

And while it's true the kid is struggling mightily, are we still honestly floating that meme about the "possibility of returning rookie Steven Stamkos to junior" to so the Tampa Bay Lightning can sign Sundin, Globe & Mail?

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