McCabe sticks it to 'em

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

Unless the world's supply of carbon and graphite is suddenly depleted, Bryan McCabe will continue to terrorize National Hockey League penalty killers.

The Maple Leafs defenceman credits his new-age hockey stick with a share of his power play success, a league-leading seven goals.

REVOLUTION

"Thank technology for that," McCabe said yesterday. "They've revolutionized a lot of guys' shots. They've added four or five miles an hour to mine for sure."

McCabe, who leads all NHL defencemen with 25 points in 19 games, prefers an Easton 100 Stiff Flex, with a carbon composite shaft and a graphite blade.

Like many NHL teams, the Leafs only have a handful of players still using wood, though one is Eric Lindros, tied for first on the club with Jeff O'Neill with nine goals.

But once captain Mats Sundin and McCabe made the switch to the space-age sticks a few years ago, most Leafs followed. Most hockey players compare the sensation to the sweet spot on an aluminum bat connecting with a baseball.

"You've seen the way guys shoot now, it's pretty scary," McCabe said.

"It just seems to take off."

The left-shooting McCabe also worked hard at the mechanics of his shot since coming out of junior 10 years ago.

"I practise it every day," he said. "Everybody has to improve. Hitting the net is the hardest part of the whole process."

Having a good set-up man helps, too. Unselfish to a fault, defence partner Tomas Kaberle is quite willing to continue being the sidekick.

POWER PLAY

"He's a great passer and I just follow his lead," McCabe said.

Kaberle has one goal and 13 assists, after dishing to McCabe twice on the power play on Tuesday against the New York Rangers.

Presumably the Boston Bruins will be cooking up something to keep McCabe and Kaberle off balance tonight.


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