McCabe thanking his lucky stars

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Bryan McCabe doesn't mind the row of stitches that one day will leave a nice scar across the bridge of his nose.

The Maple Leafs defenceman knows his situation could have been much more dire.

McCabe was sporting the new look yesterday after he was on the wrong end of an accidental high stick from Tampa Bay Lightning star Vincent Lecavalier on Tuesday night.

"I thank my lucky stars he did not hit me in the eye," McCabe said. "Thank God. Got it between the eyes, but it was accidental, and what can you do?"

Because the injury is minor, McCabe will be back at his relatively new position of playing the left side on the blue line. Though he mostly has been on the right side in his time with the Leafs, he recently was moved to the left and paired with Carlo Colaiacovo.

McCabe grew up playing the left side.

"It's a lot easier to see the ice when you get the puck because you are on your forehand," McCabe said. "On the right, I'm on my backhand, and to make a cross-ice pass is a tough play. On the power play, being on the right with the one-timer works better."

With nine goals, McCabe has not been scoring at the rate he did last season, but his 26 assists are second on the team to Tomas Kaberle.

Getting time to set up on the power play for players such as McCabe and Kaberle might be easier as the Leafs, with one road game this week done, play seven of eight away from the Air Canada Centre.

ROAD WARRIORS

Coach Paul Maurice yesterday was asked again why the Leafs perform better on the road -- they are 11-8-3 in away games, but their mark of 10-12-3 at the ACC is the second-worst home record in the Eastern Conference, topping only that of the lowly Philadelphia Flyers' 3-13-4 compilation at the Wachovia Center -- and while he thought the club gets better results on the road, added that being a man up at home can be daunting. Fans get antsy and start yelling at the Leafs to shoot, or they boo. There's no such encouragement, or lack thereof, in other rinks.

"I do think it bothers (the players)," Maurice said. "They want to perform, they are all getting paid to perform, so the pressure is there. But our fans boo less than most others."


Videos

Photos