Few NHL players had as anxious a trade deadline as Clarke MacArthur.
The Toronto Maple Leafs winger, after nearly a month of hearing his name in various rumours, eventually couldn't take watching the event unfold on television, found a movie to watch from 1 p.m. until the 3 p.m. deadline, and sat in a mostly empty theatre yesterday afternoon with his phone buzzing in his pocket.
"I couldn't take anymore," MacArthur said after practice today. "[Sitting in the theatre]was almost worse because I was getting text messages from everybody saying 'you're going to Nashville!' and I'm like 'oh man...'"
MacArthur was asked if he felt he was going to be moved.
"I mean I heard my name for the last month straight," he said. "Whatever, they just didn't like the deal [they were offered]or what, I'm just really happy to be here ... The last couple weeks, it's been in the back of my mind a little bit, but I'm just so happy to stay here and try and build a winner in Toronto."
MacArthur is the Leafs' leading scorer with 48 points after 63 games, something that has come as a huge surprise for GM Brian Burke and company, who signed him for $1.1-million in late August to fill in temporarily on the second line.
Burke had been incredibly vocal in the media about his willingness to deal MacArthur leading up to the deadline, something that is likely mostly posturing as he and agent Don Meehan try to hammer out a deal before the player becomes a restricted free agent on July 1.
My sense at the moment is that they will get one done, likely for closer to Burke's number than Meehan's, at the 11th hour. Another possibility is that they go to arbitration, although given his season, MacArthur could receive an award for more than $3-million and be walked away from for the second season in a row.
And that's not a situation he wants after how trying his summer was in 2010.
MacArthur's a more important member of this team than he often gets credit for, as in the dressing room he's become one of the more vocal players and he's very popular with his teammates. Burke's hardball stance, however, could well pay off in a smaller contract, something he's managed with a few RFAs (namely Nikolai Kulemin) during his time in Toronto.
MacArthur said today his focus now is simply on getting the Leafs into the playoffs.
"I feel confident with our team here and we want to make a real strong push," he said. "I feel like we've got great support around the city right now and we want to just use that and keep pushing forward."
And that movie he watched yesterday as he contemplated his future?
" The Fighter," MacArthur said. "Great movie."
- Coach Ron Wilson said netminder James Reimer will continue to get the vast majority of the starts in goal, including tomorrow at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will back him up.
- That leaves Jonas Gustavsson, who is back from his conditioning stint in the minors, as the third goaltender. Gustavsson played very well with the Toronto Marlies, but it's not certain when he'll get back in goal for a game.
- Reimer left the Leafs' last game midway through after Atlanta Thrashers forward Evander Kane collided with him in the crease, but he said today he is fine. "After it happened, a hit to the head and whipping it back, I had some headaches and pressure in my head, similar to a concussion," Reimer said. "We thought if it is [a concussion] you don't want to take another puck to the head. So I came out for precautionary [reasons] It proved to be just whiplash."