McCabe wonders how far he can go

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:38 AM ET

Will Bryan McCabe continue to be cheeky? Or, will ge be forced to butt out?

When the NHL outlawed his trademark can-opener move in the fall of 2002, McCabe reverted to a backup signature check, one teammates dubbed "the double cheek" and "the flying ass."

McCabe deployed the manoeuvre often, squashing oncoming forwards into the boards with his butt.

And it was all legal. But now that the league again is vowing to crack down completely on obstruction, the Maple Leafs defenceman wonders which tactics will sneak under the radar screens of NHL referees.

Either way, he plans on experimenting to find out.

"If you are not cheating, you are not trying," McCabe joked yesterday when asked how he would cope in the new-looked NHL.

"Seriously, I do think you will see a lot of penalties called early on. Both players and fans alike will have to be patient.

"I think the exhibition schedule will help all of us find out what we can get away with."

On the verge of becoming a father for the first time, McCabe is storing a lot of built-up energy heading into training camp later this month.

"Obviously, you don't want to hurt your own teammates, but I do look forward to crunching someone at any possible time," he said.

McCabe admitted that the omission of the centre-ice red line and the limitations on where goalies can handle the puck will make life more difficult for those patrolling the blue line.

"Things will be harder for defencemen," he said. "For one thing, we can expect to be hit more."


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