Just this morning, I was trying to figure out why Joe Sakic hadn't taken the same shrapnel as Mats Sundin and Brett Favre had in their respective "will he or won't he?" retirement teases. Perhaps it's because he's been straightforward about taking one-year deals in order to go through this self-evaluation during the summer. Or maybe the media just prefers a guy who isn't shrugging at a $20 million free-agent contract offer, or trying to shoehorn his way onto a team desperately trying to move forward with another QB.
In an interview today with The Fan radio in Denver, Sakic offered another reason why his overlong decision on whether to skate for the Colorado Avalanche against this season hasn't been scrutinized: He's been fairly candid with the Avs, and hasn't handcuffed the team like many believe he has. From Terry Frei of the Denver Post:
"I needed some extra time this year," he told hosts Sandy Clough and Mike Evans. "It's been a very, very difficult decision to make. I'm hoping to have something here in the next couple of weeks, make my final decision and go forward with it." Sakic added, "I will say I don't want this to linger too much longer. I should make my final decision pretty soon. Whatever that is, I want to make sure it's 100 percent sure."
Sakic said he has been communicating with both general manager Francois Giguere and coach Tony Granato. "When I talked to Francois in June, we both understood that the team was going to go forward, regardless of what my decision was going to be, and that enabled me to take as much time as I could," Sakic said. "Right now, I know training camp's approaching rapidly. Summer's gone by pretty fast. I'm going to make my decision here pretty shortly."
The rest of the interview is interesting, but I'm wondering about two things. First, he "confirmed the prevailing wisdom that he doesn't want to be anything other than a full-time, first-line center playing in the range of 20 minutes." What's more valorous: A player like Sakic who wants to go out on top, or a player like Jeremy Roenick who accepts his decline and becomes a role player for a potential champion like the San Jose Sharks?
Second, Sakic said the only basis of his decision is "am I prepared to do what it takes to be successful for another year?" Does anyone believe he isn't curious about Peter Forsberg's situation for next season? Or that the transition from Joel Quenneville to Tony Granato, and Jose Theodore to Peter Budaj/Andrew Raycroft, doesn't affect his decision at all?
Then again, we've seen Sundin downplay the importance of winning, focusing on his own competitive fire. Maybe Sakic would come back whether the Avalanche were in the postseason or in the lottery next season.