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Mats Sundin Retires

Well there's a good morning for ya:

Mats Sundin has ended the speculation and has officially announced his retirement.

The former Toronto Maple Leafs captain made the announcement around 6:40am eastern at a press conference in Sweden.

From a Reuters article (g/t Kukla):

It's a little sad to announce that my career as a professional hockey player is over," he told reporters at a press conference in Stockholm.

"I would have loved to play until the age of 65, but as a hockey player you obviously retire a little earlier than that," added the 38-year-old, who began his NHL career with the Quebec Nordiques in 1990 after being drafted in the first round in 1989.

From the A.P.:

"Toronto is and will always be my second home," Sundin said.

One of Sweden's key players in the 2006 Turin Olympics, where Sweden beat Finland in the final, he recently ruled out playing for his home country in next year's Olympics in Vancouver.

Sundin singled out winning Olympic gold along with playing in the NHL playoffs as the highlights of his career.

"It was a special experience," Sundin said. "The NHL? All playoff games and reaching the semifinals twice."

Well the big guy made a decision. Sweet.

I never wanted Sundin to be a Canuck for multiple reasons. However, though not always on the scoreboard, he did help the team during the playoff stretch last year, providing a much needed lift to Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra and giving the Canucks the sort of secondary support they've always been lacking. He was also fantastic at faceoffs, yet another Vancouver weakness.

And, though not always healthy during his final two rounds of NHL playoff hockey, he did score some timely goals against both St. Louis and Chicago. As it turns out, this was Sundin's final NHL goal:


If he really knew he wanted one last shot at the Cup, I suppose it's flattering he selected Vancouver (it also helped we have the coin to afford him). But, in the end, this guy is a Leaf through and through and I hope he's remembered fondly in Toronto after his brief stint as a Canuck. I doubt that will be a problem.

As for Vancouver? He certainly wasn't as toxic as the last bald mercenary who swung through town. For that we should be grateful.

And as a hockey player? One of the best clearly. A standing ovation for an amazing NHL and international career.