Harrison hopes to stick

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

When Jay Harrison states that "I'd do anything to be here," we're sure there are some exceptions to the rule.

Cleaning out the dressing room johns likely is out.

So, too, is scooping up all the used jock straps strewn on the floor.

When it comes to actually stepping on the ice, however, Harrison views his future through blue-and-white glasses.

Yes, his overwhelming preference is to be in the Maple Leafs lineup for the season opener against the Ottawa Senators in six days. With Carlo Colaiacovo, Staffan Kronwall and Brendan Bell still sidelined, it does seem like a realistic possibility.

But should the decision be made to ship him down to the American Hockey League's Marlies, don't expect him to sulk.

A year ago coach Paul Maurice, then with the Marlies, made Harrison a healthy scratch for the season opener.

Instead of sulking, the young defenceman worked his way back into the coach's good books, eventually earning a stint with the parent club.

"I'm at the point where I'd like to be an NHLer full time and learn from the world-class defencemen here," Harrison said yesterday. "We've got guys here who represent their country internationally and are awesome hockey players. I think the experience you could learn from those guys would be invaluable.

"Having said that, the decision is not made by me as to where I am best suited. That will be decided by someone else."

While Andy Wozniewski and Ian White had enjoyed impressive camps entering the pre-season tilt against the Ottawa Senators last night, Maurice admitted that Harrison has improved with every outing.

Should the Leafs still opt to farm him out, he must clear waivers before reporting.

"I think (last season) taught me patience a little bit," he said. "You don't really want to read too much into things right away.

"I started last season as a healthy scratch.

"By February there had been a lot of callups and I got my chance for almost a month. I had eight games there.Then I got a hand injury and I was still ready to go by the playoffs.

"It showed me how long a season it is.

"What happens Oct. 4 isn't necessarily what will happen Jan. 1."


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