I distinctly remember hearing it only two and a half days ago. “We have given the Montreal Canadiens exclusive rights to talk to Mats Sundin,” said Leafs Sort-Of-General Manager Cliff Fletcher to the interviewer at the draft in Ottawa.
I remember he said “exclusive.” He said it plain as day. I heard it and remembered it. “Exclusive.” This means Montreal would be the only one, doesn’t it?
But when I was up at four in the morning getting ready for work, there, on my TV, were the words at the bottom of the screen, “Toronto has given the New York Rangers permission to speak to Mats Sundin.”
So when Cliff Fletcher gave Montreal “exclusive” rights to speak to Sundin, he meant exclusive for two and a half days. Then another team can join the elite group of exclusive teams. I’m pretty sure that’s not being exclusive.
So now I’m not so confident about Sundin joining the Habs. He could very easily pull a Brendan Shanahan, who came within a whisker of joining the Canadiens before he signed with those same Rangers. You know, the ones who are also exclusively talking to the Swede.
Pretty soon the Red Wings, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, and another 20 or so teams will also have exclusive rights to talk to Sundin. Only 29 teams will have exclusive rights to talk to the player. No one else, just 29.
So if I’m Bob Gainey, I’d be slightly taken aback by this new Rangers thing. And if we miss out on Sundin, do we really want Marion Hossa, who obviously plays only for the money and would disrupt the fine chemistry in Montreal right now?
Hossa would probably be the highest paid on the team, and would likely bolt to another club willing to pay, after only one season.
No, we want Mats Sundin. And we want to be exclusive. Am I wrong to think this?
Please note: From time to time, and with no rhyme or reason to it, my little computer decides to change to a smaller font than normal. This isn’t me adjusting things, it’s just the computer deciding on its own that it would like something different. I don’t know why this, but it’s happened two or three times now. I’m sorry if this story was slightly hard to read. I hope I didn’t damage your eyes.