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Agent for Leafs captain Sundin says reports of major hip problem are false

"There has been no surgery recommended or scheduled for Mats on any part of his body," Calgary-based J.P. Barry said in an interview.

Quoting an unidentified source in the medical community, a Toronto newspaper reported Tuesday that Sundin's hip problem and required surgery is similar to that which all but ended the NHL career of Alexander Mogilny.

Barry says that, although Sundin had physical issues when the Maple Leafs' season ended, they were routine.

"He has had some hip discomfort this season, along with other medical issues, but they were normal issues and they are minor in nature," says Barry. "Anything that would need to be done is minor and not the level that is being erroneously reported."

On hearing of the report, Sundin told Barry that he felt that an attempt was being made to sabotage the talks.

Barry is in contract talks on Sundin's behalf with GM John Ferguson, who says he's unaware of Sundin having any major hip problem.

"The speculation that it has been planned and that it is a career threatening situation is not information that we have received at this point," said Ferguson. "Mats is scheduled for a further look within the next 10 days but no one at this point who has physically examined Mats is planning or has scheduled a procedure."

Sundin was en route to Sweden on Tuesday. He is scheduled for a routine examination in his homeland May 9. Such an examination is normal procedure prior to renewing a contract.

The Leafs hold an option on the 36-year-old Swede's services for next season. A two-year contract is being discussed, says Barry.

Sundin recently declined an invitation to play for Sweden at the world hockey championship in Russia, but that has nothing to do with any injury concerns, says Barry, adding that Sundin simply was deflated by the Leafs' failure to make the playoffs and needed a break from hockey.

Sundin's recuperative powers are well known. He's often said he heals quickly.

"Mats Sundin has missed very few games in his entire career," says Barry. "He's had to have minor procedures in the past and come back quicker than most players."

The Leafs would love to see Sundin finish his career in the blue and white, and he's repeatedly said that is his intention.

"Without a doubt," said Ferguson. "That's been our position and his position consistently."

Talks with Barry have been "positive and consistent for some time," Ferguson added.

Sundin has led the Leafs in scoring in 11 of his 12 seasons with the team. He was drafted first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989. The six-foot-five, 225-pound centre earned US$7.6-million last season.

In 1,231 career games, he has 523 goals, which is 29th-best in NHL history and only one behind Bryan Trottier, and he has 720 assists for 1,243 points, which puts him 33rd on the all-time league list.

With the Leafs, he has scored 388 goals, one shy of Darryl Sittler's club record, and he his 905 points, 11 shy of Sittler's team mark.



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