August 31, 2010
Cammalleri hoped to wear the blue and white
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
As expected, restricted free agent Christian Hanson has re-signed with the Maple Leafs, agreeing to a one-year contract.
The centre/winger had two goals and nine points in 32 games last season, finishing with a bang on April 10 with two goals and an assist in a win against Montreal.
The 24-year-old had 31 points in 38 American Hockey League games with the Marlies and wrapped up the season with a valuable six games with Team USA at the world championships.
St. Michael's Arena, downtown cradle of Maple Leaf greats, was awash in Montreal Canadiens' sweaters Tuesday morning, ironic when you consider the guest Hab could have been wearing Toronto colours today.
Mike Cammalleri was on the ice with several friends from the Starlight Childen's Foundation, helping seriously ill children and their families get a morning away from their daily challenges. Cammalleri was raised here, played in the GTHL for the Toronto Red Wings and on July 1, 2009, showed up at the Air Canada Centre to offer his services to Brian Burke.
"I came down with my agent and met with them," Cammalleri confirmed. "I always loved the city and had a passion for the team here, too. It is what it is, and I didn't end up in Toronto. That stuff will stay behind closed doors."
As he has done since arriving, general manager Burke advertised for size and toughness and apparently thought the 5-foot-9 185-pound centre couldn't deliver those attributes. Disappointed, Cammalleri got on the phone and before Canada Day was done, signed for five years and $30 million US with Montreal. He had 50 points in 65 games and a further 19 in 19 playoff matches during the Habs' admirable playoff run.
The Leafs still haven't settled on a first- or second- line centre and finished 29th. It was Cammalleri's second brush with the hometown club, after the Los Angeles Kings used the pick Toronto sent them in the deal for defenceman Aki Berg, choosing Cammalleri 49th overall in 2001.
"Montreal ended up being the best situation for me and it has worked out well," Cammalleri said.
Cammalleri helps Starlight with its Great Escapes programs, helping not only the children, but their families.
"It's tough on parents and siblings, the people that care for them all day," Cammalleri said. "They come out and we try to have a good time, get to know the kids and take everyone's minds off some things that are going on in their lives. It puts things in perspective. You only get so long in life, so many hours in a day, so spending time doing things like this is very nice."
Another ominous silence has followed the Devils' submission of a second long-term Ilya Kovalchuk contract to the NHL. TSN reports one NHL GM predicts that this deal, in the ball park of $100 million for 15 years, will also get spiked by the league for trying an end-run on the salary cap ... The 1975 Flyers, the last Stanley Cup team with an all-Canadian lineup, will soon have four members become U.S. citizens. NHL.com reports that Broad St. Bullies Bob Kelly, Orest Kindrachuk, Bill Clement and Dave (The Hammer) Schultz will have the paperwork done later this year. Most Flyers of that vintage never moved far from Philly. Kelly, born in Oakville, Ont. but with an American wife and children, said he laughed when an immigration officer asked him if he would bear arms, a Flyers' on-ice speciality ... Wings' defenceman Niklas Kronwall is still not feeling 100% with his left knee and had minor arthroscopic surgery Tuesday morning ... Pierre-Marc Bouchard, a scratch almost all of last season for the Wild, is working out almost symptom-free in Montreal and hoping to be cleared for training camp on Sept. 17. "This is like a July 1 free-agent signing," coach Todd Richards told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "That's a potential 60 to 70-point guy." ... Tim Kennedy has regretfully left the hometown Buffalo Sabres to sign a one-year deal with the Rangers, getting the one-way $550,000 deal the Sabres wouldn't deliver ... Thomas Junta, the Reading, Mass., hockey dad who beat another man to death at their sons' scrimmage, has been released from prison. Junta received a six- to 10-year sentence in January 2002 for involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Costin. Junta testified that he confronted Costin after his son was elbowed in the face during a practice Costin was supervising in July 2000.