GM hints McCabe to stay

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

There are no suitcases poised to be packed at the Bryan McCabe household, no matter what the recent trade rumours might indicate.

In fact, normally tight-lipped general manager John Ferguson Jr. hinted last night that McCabe, a pending unrestricted free agent, will not be moved to another team in the coming days.

Asked if the veteran defenceman would still be a Maple Leaf beyond tomorrow's 3 p.m. trade deadline, Ferguson replied, "I don't see why not."

If you buy into those comments, Ferguson would really have to be blown away by an offer in order to pull the trigger. In any event, McCabe was not surprised by Ferguson's statement.

"That's fine," he said after the Leafs 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens last night. "I didn't expect to be sent anywhere. Then again, I didn't expect to be traded from New York years ago, so you never know."

Reiterating his desire to remain a Maple Leaf, McCabe was grilled yesterday by dozens of reporters who wanted to know about the four-year, $16.5-million US offer he reportedly rejected from the team. The proposed deal was worth less than the five-year, $21.25-million pact signed by Tomas Kaberle prior to the Olympics.

Lowballing a player in the initial proposal is a common tactic during negotiations.

If the Leafs are serious in their intentions to retain McCabe -- the key word being "serious" -- count on another offer to be forthcoming.

"There has been one offer as far as I know," McCabe said. "Have you ever heard of a negotiation where you take their first offer? I don't think so.

"It will play out. We've got all summer, we've got all the time in the world.

"I'm not concerned. I've never done a contract before in the middle of a season so it's no big deal."

McCabe reportedly is seeking a five-year deal for at least $5 million per.

The rumour mill was in full spin yesterday, with Colorado, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers being mentioned as possible destinations for McCabe.

"It's something you can't control," McCabe said. "I love it here, I want to be here, as does everyone in this room. But you can't worry about it. It's the same thing every time the trade deadline comes and goes every year. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."

McCabe's agent, Jeff Solomon, refused to comment on the situation.

"Bryan's focus is on playing good hockey -- that's the top priority right now," Solomon said.

Meanwhile veteran pugilist Tie Domi implied that if he the Leafs try to trade him, he will not report to his new club, even if it is a Stanley Cup contender. It appears clear Domi simply would walk away from the game.

"I'm not going anywhere," Domi said. "I signed here to retire here. I will retire a Leaf.

"I think they would talk to me if they were considering (trading me). I wouldn't (agree to go)."


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