Canada

Cracknell hopes his travels end in Toronto

NIAGARA FALLS – Adam Cracknell compliments his wife Teresa as “a really good packer”.

When you’ve played in nine different NHL organizations, eight since their marriage including signing with the Maple Leafs, it’s an important quality. With the arrival of daughter Lynde 17 months ago, it’s easy to see why Cracknell hopes to be in Toronto for a spell.

“You know it’s a business, things get changed and you have to adjust,” said Cracknell during a break from training camp this weekend. “But my wife is definitely a saint. We’ve been married six years. She understands everything and she’s very good at organizing. My daughter was born in Dallas at the same time I signed an extension. It’s never easy to leave any place. (She) makes a lot of friends and I do as a player. You keep doing your thing on the ice and hopefully be successful.”

Without delving into all the trades, waiver claims and free agent signings, the 33-year-old forward has made stops in Calgary, St. Louis (twice), Los Angeles, Columbus, Dallas, Vancouver, New York Rangers, Montreal and now here. Not all of them involved promotion for NHL games, of which he has played 218. yet it’s still impressive for being almost the last player picked in the 2004 draft.

Cracknell, born in Prince Albert, Sask. and a 42-goal scorer with the WHL Kootenay Ice in his graduating year, has carefully collected items of sentimental value from each team along the way.

“My man cave is pretty stocked up right now,” he laughed. “Jerseys and stuff from great teammates. I’ve played with a lot of great leaders: the Sedins, Connor McDavid (an eight-game stop in Edmonton in his rookie year). It’s not just how they play, it’s how they conduct themselves. The Sedins were great people and did a lot for the community which you don’t hear about a lot.

“That kind of experience has helped me a long way, right back to St. Louis and the start of all my travels.”

Unlike many departures that were beyond his control, it was encouraging the Leafs pursued him. It was one of the first orders of business on July 1 for general manager Kyle Dubas after the John Tavares signing. Cracknell signed for one years at $650,000. In Sunday’s scrimmage, assisting on Carl Grundstrom’s goal.
“They called early and you can’t say no to that kind of opportunity,” Cracknell said. “I’m looking to get back in the NHL again. I’ve been through this before, there are no nerves anymore at camp, just go out and play my type of game, nothing fancy.

“I’ve talked to them, I know what they expect and it’s pretty black and white. I just look forward to getting some (exhibition) games in.”

If Cracknell can’t crack the Leafs, he’ll at least be living in Toronto and part of the Marlies’ attempt to defend the Calder Cup.

“That was a positive (in signing here), like when I was close to Montreal playing with Laval last year. I was definitely hoping to get some (Canadiens) games. It never worked out, but it never slowed me down. There is always somebody watching and obviously Kyle and maybe Mike (Babcock) were. I’ll make the most of this opportunity.”

lhornby@postmedia.com

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