Troubled year for McCabe

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

No one would blame Bryan McCabe for leaving his volunteer post as the Leafs' player rep, not after what he has been through the past two years. He lined up solidly behind union boss Bob Goodenow as an outspoken opponent of the salary cap and was one of the most vocal sabre-rattlers in the propaganda war.

He was stunned at the executive's about-face on the cap last spring and had to face the press once more to answer for the flip-flop. At training camp, he was in the middle of the Leafs' dressing room split over the voting method used to name Ted Saskin as Goodenow's replacement.

But despite all the headaches McCabe said yesterday he's agreed to stay on the job until at least the end of this season.

"Nothing's changed," he said. "I've got bigger things to worry about. I have a (two-week old newborn daughter) who won't let me sleep."

Growing Georgia peaches

Marc Savard and Ilya Kovalchuk have provided Atlanta coach Bob Hartley with two distinct projects for this season.

The 5-foot-10 Savard, an early season scoring surprise for the club, has followed up on suggestions to improve his fitness and is thus thriving in the new NHL.

"From the first day I got here, I realized he was unbelievably skilled," Hartley said. "You combine skill and hard work and you get a pretty interesting mix. That's who Marc Savard is."

Kovalchuk missed last year along with the rest of the league, then sat out in a contract dispute. Last night was just his second game back.

"The mould was ready for him this season, but that's the way business goes," Hartley said of the 41-goal forward being away an additional month. "His potential is unlimited. But when it comes to the defensive side, we have to make him better."

Tragic Story

John Manasso, the Thrashers beat writer for the Atlanta Journal- Constitution, has written a fine book on the Dan Snyder - Dany Heatley crash in 2003, which took the life of the former. A Season Of Loss, A Lifetime Of Forgiveness examines the accident, the court case and lives of family, friends and teammates impacted by the event.


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