At last, our long national nightmare is over.
After months of baseless blather about where he might sign -- or if he would even play at all -- the summer's last marquee free agent has hopped off the fence and into an NHL lineup.
Christmas came early for the Vancouver Canucks, the team that put us all out of our misery. The bait: a check reported to be worth about $6 million for a little more than half the season. Nice work if you can get it.
But at 37, Sundin has earned the right to pick his spot and his bounty. He owed nothing to no one, and if he felt he'd had enough of training camps and preseason and the early grind, who can blame him? The NHL has no set a signing deadline, so he was entitled to let things play out exactly as they did, no matter how stultifying the drama of it all became.
Apparently, it came down to the Canucks and the Rangers, with the Cup-less Sundin wanting to go to the team that gave him the best chance to win it. He realized that it wasn't the Blueshirts. Despite the presence of
No such problem for the Canucks, thanks to some fairly astute planning by GM
And once Sundin joins the lineup -- he's in excellent shape and should be available shortly after joining the team on Dec. 27 -- the matter of adding the final pieces for a serious run becomes a front-burner issue for Gillis, the rookie GM who deserves high praise for playing his cards like a vet.
Gillis won't need many more pieces. Already blessed with an excellent blueline (when healthy), Vancouver now has what looks to be a solid forward corps. Not an elite group, but nicely balanced, with two legitimate scoring lines, a high-end shutdown unit led by
Assume for a moment that Sundin skates on a top line with
Contenders? Absolutely. But recognize this: the Sundin the Canucks just bought is playing the back nine of his career. He's not the savior, nor will his impact match the hype generated by 13 years of playing under the grateful eyes of the Toronto media. But he can be a solid piece of the puzzle. Overhyped or not, his addition makes the Canucks a more dangerous team than they were yesterday. And if nothing else, it spares us from another day of pondering his future.
So, did you hear that
Welcome back, Otter. Thursday's 6-5 shootout thriller over Columbus gave Dallas its first two-game winning streak of the season, and while
The loss to the Stars was a tough one for the Blue Jackets, who thought they'd won the game early in OT after a rebound bounced off