Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bryan McCabe certainly knows what's really important

We're mere hours away from September 1. When the clock strikes midnight, the Leafs will write a $2 milloion ransom check to Bryan McCabe and then, presumably, deal him to the Florida Panthers.

While most Leaf fans are thrilled to see McCabe finally waive his no-trade clause, many have wondered why he chose Florida. After all, this is a guy who wouldn't even discuss a deal in February, and spent most of the summer swearing he wouldn't go anywhere. Why change his mind for the Panthers of all teams?

Well, Howard Berger apparently has the scoop in today's blog post:
... two factors make a move to the Panthers appealing. First, Bryan’s in-laws have a winter home in south Florida and are there throughout the bulk of the NHL season. And, second, former Leaf Wade Belak has grown very close to McCabe. In fact, the McCabes and Belaks are tight as families, having lived on the same street in Toronto the past couple of years. Next to Darcy Tucker — now with Colorado — Belak was McCabe’s best friend on the Leafs of last season.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Nothing about wanting to play for a Stanley Cup contender. Nothing about wanting to go to a team where he could play a more prominent role. Nothing about playing for coaches who could help him make the best of his talents.

No, his top priorities are to be near his in-laws and his best friend.

Is this guy twelve years old?

The longer this off-season drags on, the more we're learning about the players who made up the core leadership group on a Maple Leafs squad that became a league laughingstock over the past three years (whining, pouting and making excuses the whole way).

This was a team with a captain who needs over four months to decide if he even wants to play hockey anymore, and an assistant whose top career priority is being near his mother-in-law and BFF.

Forget making the playoffs. How did these losers ever manage to win a game?


  1. You hit the nail on the head: too many players on the team with no drive to win. And yet there are still people that think we should be keeping these same players. Its time to move forward (and crossing my fingers that an announcement is made on Tuesday, because you never know).

  2. awwww, McCabe and Belak BFF! will the give each other matching mohawks and prank call people and stay up all night giggling? Yeah, I can see McCabe as a 12 year old--he certainly has the mind of one

  3. Slow news day for Berger. Next he'll be writing about the Leaf's secret Santa draw.

  4. Poor guy. How do you choose between having to play for the Panthers or the Islanders? It's kind of like having to pick between being kicked or punched in the groin.

  5. i think the notion you've got of all these guys playing in the NHL for the love of the game, and to win a stanley cup, or be on a team where you have a prominent role, or be coached to get the most out of your talents (come on!) completely romantic and more like wishful thinking.

    it's a business. mccabe, and all hockey players, have a small window in which to make the most money possible in their career. if they win a cup while doing it, great.

    who are we to criticize mccabe's choices? we all know mccabe's wife had a hell of a time during child birth, but you're going to criticize him for wanting to be near his in-laws? you're going to criticize a grown man, which is what mccabe clearly is, for choosing family first, over the stanley cup? i don't know, but in a way this makes me respect mccabe. according to reports, his wife was gravely ill during child birth. i'm sure it was an experience that profoundly affected the mccabe family, in ways many of us probably can't realize.

    mccabe should be making the best choices for he and his family. and i'm sure that's what he did. i don't think his priorities are at all out of whack.

  6. I am one of those guys all year long chanting trade Mccabe. But deep down i like the guy. He did well for the Leafs he had arguably one bad season with us. All the other time he gives his heart and soul to us. I think the only mistake he did was to take a large contract, and who could blame him for that. Imagine if you wer say Jeff fingers, and uncle Cliff tell you that he is giving you 4 mill a year, what are you going to say? Hey I think you are looking for Kurt? or hey i think that is 3 million more then what I am worth?
    No you say Hell Yeah, and unfortuately Mccabe had one back season after that, call it poor timing.
    I think what you are saying is very unfair to Mccabe, you are making the assumtion that every team wants him, that he has a choice to be traded to a contender. The people who are willing to take him at this point after he got raped by the toronto media, is going to be the florida, the nashvills and the ATLS, so out of all the NON CONTENDING team, face it Detroit will never trade for him. He pick the one that is best for his family and that he will have the most fun playing in. I respect him for that he made the best out of a bad situation. I would have prferred if we didn't treat him the way we did and kept him, but that is more of a knock on Ciffy and the way he handles business.

  7. Eyebeleaf, come on, get your head out of your ass. Your going to tell me you respect a man who is being paid millions of dollars to play a game because he "put his family first"? Screw that. If he really wanted to put his family first he's quit hockey altogether and stay home with them.

    Now when you're at work, do you sit there and worry about your family or do you do work? I understand making a phone call or missing them, but when your in that important meeting you do what your fricken paid for. You work.

    So if McCabe had to be the first one to leave practice to go and see his family everydya and you were coaching you'd be ok with it? Screw that too. Think about it, these guys get paid very well. Most of their wives don't have to work at all. And you're thinking he's a big man because he say's (or the media says) he's putting his family first? Everyone should put their family first when making decisions regarding their families future. I don't think it should affect your opinion of the guy if he chooses cup over money or the location of his family. Yeah McCabe's a better guy then you and I because he's living in florida with his inlaws, while some of us live in different cities then the inlaws or parents. We suck. If family first was such a hard decision he should never have got involved in hockey. They spend weeks at a time away from their families.

    McCabe's parents are snowbirds in Flordia, so if family was important to them, wouldn't they just live where their children are? Do you hate them because they want to get away from their kids and those turkeys keep following them around. Leave us alone they say....

  8. what i'm saying is that i can respect him for choosing florida because i think this decision is more about his wife and his kids than it is about going to play hockey down in florida. i'm sure things will be a little bit easier for his wife, and the kids, if they're all closer to her parents.

    the argument that, if he cares about his family so much, mccabe should stay home all the time is completely bogus and the anonymous commenter knows that. no contending team made an offer for mccabe, i'm willin to go out on a limb and say that. if they did, it was a shitty offer. out of all the options mccabe had, florida, likely because of his in-laws, was the best option, and who are we to rip him about that? the man obviously has to work, he has to play, and florida was the best option, so what's the point of ripping him and his desire to win as he leaves?

    at the end of the day, i just don't understand the need to rail this guy as he heads out of town. that's it, that's all.

  9. @eyebleaf - You make some good points but it goes both ways. NHL teams are businesses and they need their employees, especially their highest paid ones, to be dedicated and focused on their jobs. Fletcher has been clearing out the guys who are just doing a job and trying to bring in players who are passionate.
    I won't criticize McCabe as a person, I actually like the guy a lot, and to tell you the truth, I don't think his priorities are out of whack either,but as a hockey player, I'd rather have a guy who wants to win and wants to be on the ice in every important situation. It takes a ridiculous amount of focus and dedication to be an elite athlete. Way more than I have and probably way more than one can have while living what I would consider a balanced life, in my opinion. The fact is that guys with that kind of drive and competitiveness are probably making their decisions based on hockey rather than the comfort of their family.

  10. @ mirinov's nose: thanks for the input. you're right, it def. does go both ways. i think, at the end of the day, i'm just miffed with how most of the leafs fans are takin what i consider to be low blows at mccabe. he's gone, wish him well, and move on. no need to bash the guy more than he's already been bashed. MF 37 at wrote a great post about it, i urge you to check it out.

    and mironov did have a huge schnoz, didn't he? love the name! cheers.

  11. The change in atmosphere had to happen in the locker room....thats why Mccabe, Tucker and wellwood had to go...even if they did play well, they exuded an attitude that wasnt going to help the Leafs create a winning culture.

    You starte again. I am not saying they have it now, we will have to see. Even if they dont have the right pieces there arent the same attachments that the other guys had.

    McCabe will do fine in Florida, hard to be as bad as your worst season, but it happens.

    Culture chnage happening, there is cap room available, even if Mats "hamlet" Sundin decides his heart is in Toronto. Team is significantly younger, maybe not better skill wise but who knows, and I would agree that they will be interesting to watch, even when they lose.

    On that last point the Leafs werent even interesting to watch when they lost last year, usually they had lost by early in the second period.

    At least McCabe let us get something for him as opposed to Tucker who took the cash and ran. Anyone who says Tucker bled blue and white is kidding themselves.

    The only move I question is not moving Kubina. But if Wilson believes he can do something with him, and he wasnt part of the culture issue in the dressing room then I defer to the coach, he'll wear the decision because it was his.

    So the Leafs are now more manouverable financially and body wise, they have a culture that can be created by the coaches and management, an experienced coach known for a defensive system and top goalie they can build up from.

    From a long term strategic perspective Fletcher has done the required. No rabbits out of the hat yet, that would be trading a couple of mid to older players to another bottom 5 team to give them two chances at Tavares.

    But slow and steady wins the race. Continue to beef up scouting and coaching and develop a long temr plan so that 5 years from now the Leafs are either at the beginning of or into the 2nd year of being a consistent Stanley Cup contender.

  12. Stephen...

    For the most part I agree, but I'd take issue with this:

    At least McCabe let us get something for him as opposed to Tucker who took the cash and ran. Anyone who says Tucker bled blue and white is kidding themselves.

    Any player in Tucker or McCabe's position will prefer a buyout to a trade. They make more money that way, and they get to choose their destination. If a team makes it clear that they don't want a guy around any more, I don't have an issue with the player asking for a buyout. The buyout option makes the off-season a much different scenario than the deadline.

    Tucker's contract made it economically feasible to buy him out, McCabe's didn't. That was the only difference. McCabe and his agent pushed for a buyout too, but Fletcher stared him down and eventually McCabe blinked.

    Tucker wanted to stay, but when the team made it clear that he was on the way out he was wasn't out of line to wait for the buyout.

  13. DGB,


    I am all for the players exercising their rights. My objection is to those who were wanting to keep Tucker claiming he "bled blue and white" and saying he was treated shabbily. It was an option for him to indicate destination and accept a trade in Feb...but then he wouldnt have got his payout.

    Players are rational agents and businesses of one. Hockey teams are also rational agents. You exercise your rights within a contract. I just get tired of the romanticized stuff about these guys, Tucker held out for the cash. If that makes him better or worse in fans opinions then so be it, but lets not tart it up to save a players rep.

    Now the real question is why did Healy spout off July 4th when when McCabe is saying he was willing to be moved at the Trade deadline and knew at the beginning of July (interview with Kypreos) he would waive his NTC for NYI or Florida....Was the Healy adding to create pressure? was he bing an idiot? did McCabe ask him to say it?

    Just odd timing.