I wrote a post last month about whether we'd see Bryan McCabe sent home by the Leafs. I warned against the idea because, as much as I'd like to see the guy brought down a peg or two, it wouldn't be a good long term business move for the Leafs.
Well, Howard Berger had an excellent column yesterday that confirmed my fears. Berger asked new NHLPA director of player affairs Glenn Healy for this thoughts on the Leafs possible stance.
The entire thing should be mandatory reading for any Leaf fan who thinks Fletcher should play hardball, but here are some choice quotes.
"They do not have the right to destroy Bryan McCabe’s career. They gave him as restrictive a contract as there is in the NHL today. If they want to go to the most extreme of situations and tell him they will pay him to stay at home, the artillery will be released from our end. The P.A. will back Bryan to the grave, I guarantee it.”If you're a Leaf fan, that last line should scare you. I don't claim to be fluent in Healey-ese, but when he says there's "absolutely no limit" to what the PA would do, I get very nervous.
“Bryan McCabe has lots of hockey left, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are not going to tell him to stay at home… not a chance... You can’t destroy a player’s craft by sitting him at home and basically telling him, ‘your career is over.’ That type of action would be something for the legal minds at the P.A. to deal with...
With that type of a welcome mat, I can’t see why there isn’t a rush for all the free agents in the world to come and sign with the hockey club. I mean, that’s just a wonderful way to treat a player...
But, there will be absolutely no limit to what the Players’ Association will try to throw at [the Leafs]. We’ll go at it hard."
Would the PA actively discourage future free agents from signing in Toronto? We know that the PA has leaned on players in the past to make sure they got maximum value on their deals. Would they try to keep top players out of Toronto as retribution for McCabe's treatment.
Is it really worth it for the Leafs to find out?