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'Southern' Ontario

MatsWas playing golf yesterday with a couple former Panthers, and the idea was floated that Mats Sundin may have some interest in coming south.

Way south.

A pending free agent here in the coming days, Montreal holds the Toronto captain's exclusive negotiating rights until July 1 (although sportsnet.ca reports the Rangers previous held those rights).

Sundin, 37, will have plenty of offers. According to the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby, Wade Belak says he's trying to recruit Sundin to the Sunshine State.

Like I said yesterday, I don't see it happening. But it would be cool. "You could slap that C right on the sweater,'' one said. "And he can play golf in the middle of December. Win, win.''

And maybe it'll snow in Miami again this winter. I mean, it could happen.

-- Memo to Mats: Florida doesn't have a province tax, much less a state tax.

You do have to pay sales tax on your greens fees, but I don't see that being a problem since, well, you won't be paying to play golf.

Stockholm Bac -- Memo to Mats II: Little known fact, but Sunrise is known as Little Stockholm; Parkland known as Little Brammo. It'll be like being home, only with a tad more heat and humidity.

-- TSN.ca has a timeline and kind of an update on the Sundin deal. Says there that he is taking his time, and a decision on where he plays next season won't be figured out until after the July 1 free agency signing period begins.

-- Memo to Mats III: They just opened up a new IKEA in Sunrise. In fact, on busy days, folks park at the Panthers arena and get shuttled down the road to do their shopping. I don't think you would have to take the shuttle. Love those meatballs!

-- Don't know if you heard, but Tampa Bay is set on hiring Barry Melrose to be its new coach. This one came out of left field. The Lightning really did a good job keeping a lid on this one. No leaks there.

-- Memo to Mats IV: The Panthers are well aware your birthday is Feb. 13. If you sign with Florida, they are willing to have Valentine's Day celebrated a day early in honor of your birthday throughout Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach and Collier counties. Miami-Dade County has yet to agree. "They still have a hockey team up there?,'' one county commissioner asked. "Can the Marlins play in their arena?"

-- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporting Gary Roberts is going to continue his NHL career, only it won't be in the Steel City. GR is going to be a free agent come July 1.

Since Joe Nieuwendyk is expected to be working for the Maple Leafs come July 2, expect tons of speculation that GR returns to Toronto and dons the Blue and White for one more season. The Leafs are going to have a young team, and without Mats, could use some veteran leadership. Gary could be that veteran presence.

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