Bryan McCabe had a snappy response yesterday when it was pointed out to him by a reporter that "all the scuttlebutt is you are here next year."
The implication was that McCabe, bound to be an unrestricted free agent July 1, will sign with the New York Islanders. McCabe's wife, Roberta, is from Long Island, and the McCabes live here in the off-season.
"I got family in Calgary too, and it doesn't mean I want to go and play there," McCabe said, drawing laughs. "That's your answer."
McCabe began his NHL career with the Islanders 10 seasons ago. There has been little contract movement between his agent, Jeff Solomon, and Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson.
Hockey prospects who are passed up in their draft year might want to think of Chris Campoli's story.
All 30 NHL clubs snubbed Campoli in first two years of eligibility for the draft before the Islanders selected him 227th overall in 2004. Less than two years later, Campoli, who grew up in Mississauga, is putting the cap on a fine rookie season with the Islanders.
Playing for Bridgeport of the AHL during the lockout, when the league had some good young players who otherwise would have been in the NHL, was a bonus for Campoli.
"It was good for my confidence level to go out there and play every night and show I could play," Campoli said. "It was a challenge. And it gave me an opportunity to show what I could do with the Islanders scouting staff watching a lot."
Campoli, 21, spent three seasons with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League, and is tight with former Otters teammate and present Maple Leaf Carlo Colaiacovo. Campoli attended Leafs training camp in 2003 but was released.
Luke Richardson is slated to be a free agent this summer and has no idea where he will end up, but the 37-year-old figured he will have some spring in his step.
"I would like to play, and this has been a boost for me to come here and play a lot," Richardson, acquired March 8 from Columbus, said. "I am feeling good about my game. Being in a hockey environment has been fun again."