Love the fact Jordan Staal earned his way into the NHL on merit, not as a would-be gate attraction or because a team wanted to prove it had a future. That said, all the fuss over the contractual implications down the road were a bit goofy. Both Staal and Evgeny Malkin, after all, are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents under the next NHL collective bargaining agreement. The rules might be totally different, so why worry now? . . . If you're keeping score at home, Andrew Raycroft is now 2-and-0 after resting and watching Jean-Sebastien Aubin play. Raycroft looked sharp and rested Monday night against Atlanta and two out of three games sounds about right. Aubin, don't forget, has a superb winning record over the past two seasons as a Leaf . . . Now that a snore of a World Series is over, baseball's most interesting story becomes the Barry Bonds free agent sweepstakes. Who wants this guy and all the baggage he brings? The natural speculation is that some AL team - speculation out of San Fran says maybe Baltimore or Texas - will want him as a DH. I'm thinking Tampa Bay is the right fit. They stink - still! - and maybe somebody might come to watch the creepy Bonds in that awful domed park . . . Even with Pavel Kubina back soon, the Leafs are still sniffing around for blueline help. The names of Jon Klemm of Dallas and Luke Richardson of Tampa Bay have come up. Richardson, getting five minutes a game most nights, played very well down the stretch for the Leafs and would come cheaply . . . The NHL received all kinds of grief last fall for its ridiculous ad campaign using actors as players in some kind of peculiar martial arts-style scenario. Well, as bad as that was, the league has done much better this fall. The concept, in case you haven't seen them, is that an NHL player pops up just to remind people that the season has started. So far I've seen Jonathan Cheechoo in full gear on a surfboard, Sidney Crosby in a shower, Marty Turco being picked up from school and jammed in the back seat of a car and Peter Forsberg lying in bed and turning out the lights with a whack of his hockey stick. They're all hilarious, and nicely illustrate the dry wit you'll find in any NHL dressing room . . . Best story of the day. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees fighting with mom over her trying to use him to win a political campaign. And no sign of Belinda Stronach. Yet.