VANCOUVER, B.C. – Mats Sundin says he has no regrets over his decision to play for the Vancouver Canucks this NHL season, but hasn’t decided yet if he will return next year.
If he does play again, money won’t be the deciding factor.
“It won’t be a money issue, whether or not I’m going to play,” Sundin, 38, said Wednesday as the Canucks cleaned out their lockers. “You want to have a chance to win.
“I am going to take my time to make a good decision this summer. Right now I wouldn’t know what my future is going to be, whether I am going to play or not.”
The Canucks were eliminated from the playoffs Monday after a 7-5 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal. It was the first time Sundin has played in the playoffs since the 2005-06 season.
The former Toronto Maple Leaf captain signed a US$5.6-million, free-agent contract with the Canucks in December. He had nine goals and 28 points in 41 games.
“Coming to Vancouver I had a different role than I did in Toronto,” he said. “I felt the last month and a half I played as well as I did in Toronto the last couple of years.
“I felt my skating and everything else felt better and better.”
Sundin had three goals and eight points in eight playoff games. He missed two games with a knee injury.
“I played more in the playoffs,” he said. “The last couple of games I got more ice time. I really enjoyed the role I had.
“The production during the regular season obviously wasn’t the same as it has been in the previous years.”
The six-foot-five, 231-pound centre had averaged just over a point a game during his 17-year career before coming to Vancouver. The nine-time all-star scored 32 goals in his last season with Toronto.
Sundin knew missing half a season would make it difficult for him to return to his old form.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge coming in at Christmas,” he said. “It was nothing I regretted.
“I felt very fortunate to get a chance to play again in the playoffs.”
Sundin said he enjoyed Vancouver.
“My experience and my season here, I am very glad I got a chance to join the Canucks and be a part of this team,” he said. “It’s been a great experience for me.”
The 2010 Winter Olympics coming to Vancouver won’t sway his decision about retirement.
“Probably not,” said Sundin, who was a member of the Swedish team that won the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
“My last game for the national team we won the final in Turin. The national team won’t be part of the factor.”