Public flogging won't stop McCabe

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Bryan McCabe now knows how John Tory feels after making a colossal mistake in the name of the blue and white.

But he emerged from one of the harshest public floggings ever accorded a Maple Leaf with his sense of humour intact. On the cover of two local newspapers for Monday's infamous own goal, he advised the media to come right to his stall after yesterday's practice.

"Appearing once and once only," he said in carnival barker fashion.

Well-versed in the fickle Toronto market he knows a player can go "from zero to hero" in a day and says he has girded for the verbal darts coming his way tonight at the Air Canada Centre.

"I don't need it, but (Buffalo) was only one game," he said. "I thought I had one of my best (defensive) games of the year, until the end."

McCabe's desperation clearing attempt with less than four seconds to go in overtime clanged off both posts and past a stunned Andrew Raycroft. That made McCabe the most dissected defenceman in hockey the past 48 hours, highlighting early season losses in which penalties and defensive blunders killed the Leafs.

"I've had seven or eight productive years here," he said. "I'd like to get cheered, but everyone makes mistakes."

He didn't shy away from questions about the goal, its impact on his already shaky play and its effect on the team.

About shooting the puck into his own net:

"The puck didn't go where I wanted it."

On losing a hard-earned point to Buffalo:

"That was the seventh game of the year, not the seventh game of the Stanley Cup."

On having his confidence supposedly crushed:

"I'm not hanging myself by my tie."

Does his $7.1-million US salary this season single him out for abuse?

"That stinks. I'm obviously one of the highest-paid guys, but I'm not going to turn water into wine every night."

On his value to the team:

"I'm fortunate to have been rewarded for my points (with a $28.75-million contract). I intend to be productive for many years."

Comparisons with former fan whipping boy Larry Murphy:

"I could only be so fortunate. He won a Stanley Cup and he's in the Hall of Fame."

On constantly getting booed:

"Everyone goes through it; Razor ( Raycroft), Nik Antropov. This is the biggest market in the world and criticism is expected."

On whether he wants to leave Toronto:

"I love the guys, I love the team. I still love the game."


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