McCabe may jump back in where he left off

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

As the Maple Leafs bus wheeled through the snowy streets of Montreal en route to the team hotel yesterday afternoon, Bryan McCabe was well aware that he had returned to the scene of the crime.

It was there, on Dec. 15, that McCabe's season came to a painful halt when he fractured three bones in his left hand after being wallpapered into the Bell Centre glass by the Montreal Canadiens' Andrei Kostitsyn.

Almost two months later, McCabe needs only the approval of the doctors today to return to action. Should he get the green light, he'll be lining up against the Habs tonight.

"There is no better place to get going again," McCabe said from Montreal last night. "This is where it all started."

Knowing he will be in the media spotlight today, the veteran defenceman once again stressed that he does not blame Kostitsyn for the circumstances that led to his injury.

"It was a freak play," McCabe said. "It could have happened 100 times and I would not have gotten hurt from it. There was nothing dirty about the play. I hold no ill will toward anyone."

Coach Paul Maurice, who was livid at Kostitsyn at the time of the incident, will just be happy to welcome McCabe back to the lineup. Maurice's Leafs have won only seven times in the 22 games McCabe has been sidelined.

McCabe was encouraged by the progress he made during practice this week, although he admits not yet being at 100%.

"I felt really good (Wednesday)," he said. "It's the best I've felt since I was hurt, and now it's in the hands of the doctors. The last couple of days it has gotten a little stronger. I'm close enough to play but the doctors will have the final say."

McCabe said he felt bad for his teammates during the 8-0 drubbing at the hands of the Florida Panthers at the Air Canada Centre.

"I've been through many games like that," McCabe said. "It's not like one guy was going to turn that ship around."

If McCabe can't go tonight, expect him to be in the lineup against the Red Wings on Saturday afternoon at the ACC.


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